CleanUp Australia’s Ian Kiernan and more than half a million of his mates has been spending this Sunday applying his newly developed formula, E=1.
Operating out of Tasmania in 2014, Mr Kiernan is leading the 24th annual CleanUp Australia day and more than half a million volunteers have scoured the scrub, sand, parks, creeks and bush at 7000 sites across the country.
“I have 550,000 close, personal friends now,” he said.
Many other clubs and groups across the country participate but don’t register, so the true figure is probably much larger, he said.
Mr Kiernan said the environment is the “absolute, primary issue” and since being awarded an honorary doctorate in science from the UNSW, he’s developed a formula to help everyone remember and act with nature in mind.
“E=1, not E=mc2, that’s very good, but E=1 comes long before that,” he said, clarifying that E was in fact an abbreviation of environment.
The group’s focus this year is cigarette butts and drink bottles.
“They’re a real problem,” Mr Kiernan told AAP from the group’s Tasmanian headquarters
“They’ve got toxic material in them, they’ve got plastic in them and they just accumulate.”
As well as improving the environment, CleanUp Australia day encourages people to live more sustainably and is great for business, Mr Kiernan said.
“Tourists won’t return to degraded destinations,” he said.
Mr Kiernan also wants to see South Australia’s incentive-based recycling scheme replicated nationally.
“The recovery rate on beveridge containers is in excess of 85 per cent. In other cities and towns, less than 30 per cent
“Instead of seeing a bit of rubbish on the beach or beside the road, you’ll see money.”