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Keeping Australia Clean

Date: 21-Feb-13

Responsible Runners

There is a trend sweeping the beaches and parks of Australia at the moment and it's aiming to sweep them clean.

Groups like Responsible Runners, the Two Hands Project and Take Three are all grassroots movements that encourage ordinary individuals to pick up and recycle or correctly dispose of the rubbish that all too often litters beaches, creeks, parks and streets. And they are moving mountains of rubbish in the process.

If the Responsible Runners is anything to go by, it is a movement that is growing rapidly. After starting in Bondi new groups have sprung up in Coogee, Rose Bay, Manly, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Responsible Runner concept is pretty simple; locals meet at the beach at a specific time each week and spend about half an hour collecting as much rubbish as they can. The event is finished off with a photo to showcase the results of their work.

In some cases the groups will use some of what they've found to lobby governments or businesses to reduce rubbish in the first place. For example, if a corporate has been giving away promotional products on the beach that have been left as litter, the group may contact that company to encourage them to cut down on the waste in the first place or have people clean up the rubbish afterwards.

The idea behind the Two Hands Project is pretty similar. Just use your two hands (or four hands if there are two of you) to collect rubbish then upload a photo to their Facebook page. The photos act as a motivator to others.

Take Three encourages individuals to take three pieces of rubbish - particularly plastic - every time they leave the beach or park.

All the groups are particularly concerned about plastic. As awareness grows of the huge amounts of plastic floating around in the ocean it's becoming clear that we need to take action now.

One of the biggest benefits of this movement is that it normalises the action of picking up litter. As an Aware subscriber there is reasonable chance that you dislike litter but there is an equal chance that you feel awkward picking it up - it's just not the done thing. So the more that groups and individuals like this lead the way, the less awkward we'll all become and the less litter will be left around.

So why not check out these groups and use your two hands to make your world a little cleaner. You might even start up your own Responsible Runners group!


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