Speech by Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea
HE Ms Deborah Stokes
Clean Up The World 2013 Campaign
20 September 2013
Thank you for your warm welcome. It is indeed a pleasure to be at Tokarara Secondary School as part of the global environmental campaign called ‘Clean Up the World’.
My colleagues and I are already impressed by how clean and well maintained your school is. Maybe we have come to the wrong school for this event – your school is already too clean!
No, as your near-neighbours in Waigani, we have definitely come to the right place – we commend your school ‘work parade program’ and we’re excited to reinforce and encourage you to continue your good practices through the World Clean Up campaign this year.
This school, as I understand, was established in 1988 and started with grades 7 and 8. It has since been developed into a secondary school and you now have 36 teachers and over a thousand students. That is very impressive.
I’m particularly glad learn that your school prides itself in being among the top four schools in NCD in terms of academic excellence ratings. What a great achievement. Congratulations.
We are all here together today to be part of the global ‘Clean Up the World’ campaign.
The history of Clean up the World is inspiring. It all began in 1987 when an Australian called Ian Kiernan saw the devastating effects of rubbish and pollution on the environment around him. He decided he would try and make a difference. He mobilised people from all walks of life to get together and collect rubbish – and this became Clean Up Australia Day, which is now an annual calendar event.
The concept was then taken to the rest of the world. Today ‘Clean Up the World’ takes place in local communities throughout the world with an estimated 35 million volunteers from 130 countries.
Clean Up the World has made a tremendous and positive impact in Australia over the years and this campaign has spread all over the world, including to Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea has such a magnificent natural environment, but rubbish and pollution is clearly a growing problem.
The governments of PNG can bring about laws to keep PNG clean. Ultimately it’s up to the people of PNG to accept personal responsibility to keep PNG beautiful.
Littering is no longer acceptable in Australia – many years ago this wasn’t the case. It wasn’t easy, but Australia has made the change.
And PNG can make the change too. Change can be led by you, the youth of PNG.
The theme this year is: Our Place. Our Planet. Our Responsibility’. Our contributions may seem meagre but when combined can have a positive global impact.
This Clean Up campaign starts with each one of us. I also urge you to continue to work within your own communities to encourage your friends, your neighbours, your work colleagues to understand the role the whole community can play in protecting the environment. Not just today, but every day.
The Australian Government is committed to protecting the environment both in Australia and internationally.
That is why the Australian High Commission supports this campaign annually and we are proud to be here today. I’d like to congratulate all of you, teaching staff and students, who have volunteered today to get your hands dirty in order to make a difference take responsibility to keep PNG beautiful.
The Australian High Commission is proud to present to you 4000 Kina worth of cleaning equipment to kick-start this campaign – ten wheelie bins, rakes and hoses. We also have gloves and rubbish bags for today’s clean-up.