Among the many achievements Ian Kiernan AO celebrated throughout his career as both yachtsman and environmental campaigner, his greatest was undoubtedly the establishment of the not-for-profit Clean Up Australia campaign (and later, Clean Up the World).
A game changer for conservation in Australia, Clean Up Australia Day went on to become the nation’s largest community-based environmental event, not only raising awareness about plastic pollution and marine litter but giving the wider community a way to be part of the solution.
Wildlife Queensland branches throughout the state continue to participate in Clean Up Australia Day actively and enthusiastically every year. Over the past 28 years, this single annual event has been supported by more than 33 million volunteer hours, and responsible for the clean-up of an estimated 350,000 ute-loads of rubbish – saving thousands of marine animals and birds from harmful and deadly plastic litter and pollution.
“It is part of Ian’s legacy that this year Queensland has banned lightweight plastic bags and introduced a container refund scheme,” said plastics campaigner Toby Hutcheon. “These two measures will significantly reduce plastic pollution, and will change our littering behaviour.”
“Ian was a great champion for the introduction of both of these measures,” he said.
In March 2015 Wildlife Queensland, Boomerang Alliance and Clean Up Australia launched their appeal to the Queensland Government to phase-out single use plastic bags and introduce a container deposit scheme for the state. At the time, Ian said:
“After 25 years of solid work by hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders, it’s time for their government to acknowledge the efforts of these volunteers and demonstrate some leadership by stopping plastics and containers being discarded in the first place.”
Wildlife Queensland thanks you, Ian Kiernan, for everything you did to make our state, our country and the world a better and cleaner place.