Clean Up Australia Day (CUAD) has come and gone for 2021. CUAD was first held in January 1989. Its creation was spearheaded by the late Ian Kiernan and it grew out of a number of local Australian Bicentenary events such as “Clean-Up Lake Macquarie” and “Clean Up Sydney Harbour”. The 1990 CUAD was launched by then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and from that time it has grown into a major national initiative and includes associated events such a Business Clean Up Day and Schools Clean Up Day. The success of CUAD has encouraged similar events outside Australia such as World Clean Up Day.
Sadly, Queenslanders are acknowledged as being the worst litterers in Australia. On its State of Environment website (https://bit.ly/3vg5zO1) the Queensland Government reports that…. “The average number of litter items is higher in Queensland than Australia across all site types particularly beaches, retail strips, highways and recreational areas”. The most common items of litter include food packaging (particularly for takeaway food and drinks) and plastic bottles. MBI readers comment that takeaway food packaging is certainly one of the biggest litter items on Bribie Island.
It is estimated that CUAD volunteers have collected over 350,000 tonnes of garbage since CUAD began. It is estimated that in 2021 over 100,000 volunteers participated and collected over 16,000 tonnes of rubbish. There were around 7000 CUAD locations around Australia and around 900 in Queensland.
Here on Bribie, there were seven registered CUAD sites and MBI understands there may have been some unofficial sites as well. All the sites were organised by various volunteer community groups. Sadly there was no participation in Business Clean Up Day by those businesses who sold all that packaging. Business groups like Bribie Chamber of Commerce were conspicuous by their absence. There was no representation by those who stood to gain from a cleaner and more attractive Bribie Island (such as the real estate community). And there was little or no representation by those who come to Bribie to enjoy its attractions (such as the many tourists). One reader comments that he approached a group who were taking some learners onto Bribie’s beaches to teach soft-sand driving techniques. They said they were too busy to do any cleanup while they were here.
In keeping with tradition, MBI awards the following Brickbats and Bouquets for CUAD 2021 on Bribie Island:
- A large bouquet to all those volunteers who joined the various CUAD cleanup sites. It is not known how many in total participated. Perhaps 100 – 150 volunteers. Thank you. You have helped make Bribie a cleaner and more attractive place to live
- A bouquet to MBRC Waste Management who came and disposed of all the collected litter. CUAD would not be possible without your assistance
- A bouquet to Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme. Many volunteers commented on the great reduction in cans and bottles in the CUAD 2021 litter
- A brickbat to those who sold the food and drinks, and the packaging and coffee cups the food and drinks came in, and then failed to participate in the clean-up
- A brickbat to those who stand to benefit from a cleaner and more attractive Bribie but failed to participate
- And a special brickbat to the organisers who took the group of 4WD’ers onto Bribie’s beaches to teach them how to drive in soft sand but didn’t have time to do any clean-up
Some enthusiastic CUAD volunteers (photo courtesy CUAD)