A goal that crosses borders and defies religious and cultural differences. World Cleanup Day is one of the biggest civic movements of our time, uniting 191 countries across the world for a cleaner planet. On that day volunteers and partners worldwide again came together, despite the special requirements and many restrictions of Covid-19, to rid our planet of trash – cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests, and streets.
The humble beginning
This world-changing idea began in the small northern European country of Estonia, in 2008. 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just five hours. On that day, a global bottom-up civic movement was born and spread like wildfire around the globe. This captured the imaginations of people worldwide, who were inspired to follow suit with the same ambitious ‘one country, one-day’ formula.
The simple idea has grown into a global movement with millions of volunteers and charismatic leaders. The simple act of cleaning has become a force that binds together people and groups that would otherwise never dream of working towards the same goal. Civil society, governments and global corporations, women in Saudi Arabia, people defying war in Yemen and Syria, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians, men and women, children.
Nearly every human on this planet has a place they call a Home. Be it a mansion, a street, a hut or a flat in a metropolis. Then there are the cities, countries, and regions we call home. And the planet we call home. When 50,000 Estonians cleaned their home in 5 hours, the world got wind of it. The simplicity of the idea and the ‘let’s do it’ attitude took off and the rest, as they say, is history. Anyone can pick up trash. In 2018, a 101-year old man volunteered to clean in Curaçao. In Estonia, a group of mothers carrying their babies went out to clean. In Scotland, a dogs association came out with the dogs. But World Cleanup Day has become so much more than the simple act of picking up trash. Daycares, schools, companies, government officials – the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the able and less able – everyone contributed. Because they could. Because they wanted to be involved in making their home a better place. Because they were given an opportunity to help. Because they belong to a community.
Source: Text & Images: worldcleanupday.org