JOANN Burns has been cleaning up our region for the past 25 years.

She was one of 27 Australians recognised for their volunteer work on Clean Up Australia Days.

For her contribution, she was given an Akubra hat as a token of thanks by Clean Up Australia Day founder Ian Kiernan.

Since 1980, Joann has not missed an opportunity to pick up a bag and put on a pair of gloves.

"It's all about the community pulling together and saying 'no' to rubbish.

"We're starting to educate the younger generation too so they don't do it and when you think about it, we shouldn't be cleaning up if everyone is responsible," Ms Burns said.

Through the years her mittens have picked up countless plastics and cigarette butts.

BIG HELP: Joann Burns was thanked for her 25 years of participation in Clean Up Australia Day by chairman Ian Kiernan.
BIG HELP: Joann Burns was thanked for her 25 years of participation in Clean Up Australia Day by chairman Ian Kiernan. Paul Braven GLACONS

This year she has registered two sites to clean up, with the local Girl Guides and the Canoe Point Outrigging Club.

"My passion is the marine environment ... the turtles like plastic bags they mistake them for jellyfish. We're killing our marine environment by littering."

Mr Kiernan said he never expected what started out as a "one-off" to turn into such a well-known event.

"We just did it as a one-off event and people just grasped it and made it theirs," he said.

"All we do is supply the volunteers with bags and they select the sites.

"It's very Aussie in its form," Mr Kiernan said.

And what better way to congratulate the 27 volunteers who have never skipped past a piece of rubbish than with an Akubra hat.

"That's what I've always worn. They're a very Australian item and they're pretty practical," he said.

FAST FACTS

  • Clean Up Australia Day is on March 1.
  • Last year 572,406 volunteers cleaned up 15,708 tonnes of rubbish.
  • To find a local Clean Up Australia site visit the website and search your postcode.