Ian Kiernan, the founder of Clean Up Australia, has died aged 78.

Australian Conservation Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said:

“Ian Kiernan was an inspirational community leader who helped Australians understand that if you are concerned about environmental damage, the best thing to do is roll up your sleeves and get involved.

“Through his Clean Up Australia movement Ian inspired millions of Australians to pick up litter from beaches, rivers and parkland – and in doing so raised widespread awareness about the problems caused by plastic packaging.

“In recent years there has been a huge leap in understanding of how plastic pollution in our oceans is affecting entire marine ecosystems. Ian was at the forefront of this issue, drawing attention to the problems with plastics for the world’s oceans from the mid-1980s.

“Ian was also concerned about climate change and Australia’s contribution to the problem, including through our massive exports of coal that gets burned in other countries.

“Just as Ian’s work on litter and packaging has led to changes in the way Australians think about and use plastic bags, people power can change Australia’s impact on the climate.

“Through our buying decisions, our conversations, our votes, every one of us can shape a better future for Australia.

“As Ian said in 2015, ‘There is not a single Australian who isn’t able to do something about climate change’.”

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