Clean Up the World volunteers safeguard biodiversity

0 CommentsPrint E-mail, September 19, 2010
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This weekend Boy Scouts in the Philippines will help restore a protected mangrove forest, divers will remove marine debris from Jordan's Gulf of Aqaba, while 27,000 young people across Zimbabwe embark on a campaign against grassland fires.

These are a few of the 35 million volunteers in 120 countries who will go to their local parks, waterways and forests from now through Sunday to take part in the annual United Nations-backed Clean Up the World campaign.

Diver with the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan removes old tires from the Gulf of Aqaba. September 2009.

Diver with the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan removes old tires from the Gulf of Aqaba. September 2009. [Environment News Service]

Activities and long-term environmental projects are undertaken throughout the year with the campaign culminating in the Clean Up the World Weekend in third weekend of September each year.

This year's three-day event, held in partnership with the UN Environment Programme, is in support of the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity. Clean Up the World's 2010 theme is "Communities Caring for Nature."

Australian builder and yachtsman Ian Kiernan, who founded Clean Up the World 18 years ago and serves as its chairman today, is concerned about the global loss of biodiversity.

"The current species extinction rate is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than it would naturally be," Kiernan said, citing information from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains the Red List of threatened Species.

"Sadly we, people, are the main contributing factor," Kiernan said. "It's a scary fact but there is plenty we can do to turn this around, starting in our own backyards. That's why we're encouraging our participants to focus their Clean Up the World activity on biodiversity in their community - protecting the variety and wonder of plant and animal life.

"In every corner of the globe, we are seeing this take place," he said. "From clean ups in Europe to reforestation in Africa, tree planting in Asia to marine restoration in West Asia, it's a weekend we unite to prevent any more nature loss."

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