I’m helping to clean up, fix up and conserve the environment. Come along to the ‘Operation Oakleigh’ Clean Up Day and help us to make Oakleigh shine. There will be a free BBQ for volunteers and prizes to be won.

So says the effusive little introduction from the co-ordinator of the “Cleanup Oakleigh” group of “Cleanup Australia Day.” What, you didn’t know that it was “Cleanup Australia Day” today? That’s funny, neither did I. No advertising, no signs, no mention anywhere. Pure luck that I heard a mention of the Surf-riders’ association doing a cleanup on a beach today as part of it all and a suggestion to lookup your local area on the website — http://www.cleanup.org.au/ — if you were interested in helping.

The entire railway reserve from one end of the suburb to the other is ankle deep in rubbish, every road and footpath in the suburb is full of crap, every time I walk to the shops I seem to end up picking up bottles or newspapers and putting them in the bins; but today for a special event they’ve nominated a nice clean and tidy park — with playground for the children and easily accessible barbecues for afterwards — as the big site to “clean up.” Forgive my cynicism, but the three blokes I watched standing about drinking take-away coffees for half an hour then getting a rubbish bag out and directing the two kids from the local Air League squadron to pick up a few cans and plastic cups all seemed a bit of a joke.

Cameron and I had headed over to the park for a play on the swings and maybe to join in the cleanup, but as it was we just spent our three-quarters of an hour watching nothing happen, then went home for a nap and a coffee respectively.

Maybe next year I can direct them to the piles of paint cans, mangled pieces of furniture, builders’ rubble and destroyed shopping trolleys that have been sitting along Haughton road for the last four years. On the other hand the locations that do need cleaning up aren’t so good for photo opportunities and barbecues afterwards….