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UN-backed ‘Clean Up the World Weekend’ moves into cyberspace

UN-backed ‘Clean Up the World Weekend’ moves into cyberspace

When 35 million volunteers around the planet take part in the annual United Nations-backed “Clean Up the World Weekend” next weekend, their activities will for the first time also break into cyberspace with photos and videos posted onto Google Map under a new agreement announced today, giving a global platform to every local initiative.

“The power of local community action is being matched by the power of the World Wide Web,” said UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, whose agency has been organizing the event since 1993 with volunteers picking up trash on beaches, in villages and other sites, from Australia’s Sydney Harbour to Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach.

“This should make a formidable partnership uniting and empowering groups from Bangalore to Bermuda and Berlin to Beijing in common cause,” he added of the initiative with the giant Internet search engine.

“Let us hope this global Google community’s effort may go further and persist beyond the International Cleanup Weekend. It may evolve into a new forum and network for ideas sharing on a wide range of challenges from local cleanups to community-based solutions to such pressing issues as climate change.”

The “Clean Up the World Weekend,” held this year on 13 and 14 October, is led by Sydney-based Ian Kiernan, who set out to clean up Sydney Harbour after a yacht race left him appalled by the amount of rubbish choking the world’s oceans.

Joint action on the International Cleanup Weekend is part of a series of projects between UNEP and Google Inc. Last year, Google Earth featured “UNEP: Atlas of our Changing Environment,” offering satellite images of 100 environmental hotspots from around the world and showing the dangers facing them.

UNEP and Google encourage everyone to plan their own cleanup close to home, wherever they think there is the biggest need for it.