5th annual World Cleanup Day celebrated by 191 countries

Jonah Gabor, Staff Reporter

The “Let’s Do It World” (LDIW) conference brought together Estonia’s global network leaders to prepare for this year’s World Clean Up day. World Cleanup Day has taken place on September 17 every year since 2018, 191 countries have participated with over 60 million volunteers who have collected roughly 300 to 3000 tons of waste in each country.

“Me and my sister went to the park and picked up all the garbage,” said Leroy Gray, senior. “We weren’t the only ones there either!”

It all started on May 3, 2008, in Estonia. 5000 citizens joined forces to clean up areas around their homes for the day in a citizen movement called “Let’s Do It”. Shortly after, other countries observed this and were inspired to join the movement. 

On September 15, 2018, the first World Cleanup Day was celebrated, and around 17.6 million people from 157 countries around the world participated in collecting 88,500 tons of mismanaged waste. In 2019, the number of participants increased, but oppositely in 2020 there were only around 11 million participants due to the pandemic.

During 2020 and 2021, LDIW understood that many countries had strict laws surrounding COVID. They suggested that people in high-risk areas should refrain from leaving their homes and instead do a digital cleanup. LDIW asked them to spend time deleting unnecessary files from their devices, as it decreases CO2 waste and increases the lifespan of technology.

LDIW selects an individual or a group of volunteer leaders for each country who work around the clock to recruit citizens of their country to participate in the event. The leaders that LDIW choose come from all different lifestyles. Some leaders are strong environmentalists, and others are just people who want to do some good.

Many of the countries involved have waste management issues. In response, their governments have issued protocols to take care of their waste. However, in some countries, waste is all around their civilians’ homes, and how they take care of the mismanaged waste can be vital to their survival. 

Lots of countries compete to collect more waste than others. For instance, this year’s World Cleanup Day is looking to be the biggest in the history of Mexico. Residents planned to break the Guinness World Record for most people running and collecting garbage on September 18, 2022. They planted more than two thousand trees and collected more than six million cigarette butts.

One of the countries involved in World Cleanup Day this year, Kyrgyzstan, has officially dedicated a cleanup date at the state level through their legislature. The date is scheduled to be the 3rd Saturday of both September and April. Within two months, civilians will establish clean-up events, and there will be a contest to determine which city, town or district is the most clean.

Another country that is actively involved, despite their ongoing war with Russia, is Ukraine. Instead of having just one day of cleaning up, Ukraine started gathering waste on August 17, 2022, and continued to do so until September 17, 2022. Depending on location and security, the State Emergency Service will decide if an area is safe to practice group cleaning. However, cleanup is mainly only permitted in places with local self-government bodies.

The fifth annual World Cleanup Day was a success for the entire planet and is continuing to help push residents of diverse countries to preserve the communities we live in.

“I think it’s a great thing to do, like the purpose behind it and how they’re trying to get so many people involved,” said Maggie Bratsch, junior, who is a member of Earth Club. “It’s sad seeing how they fell so short of their goal, but still, it’s amazing how many people care about pollution and marine life and wanting to help out with it.”

Bratsch and their fellow Earth Club members meet every other Tuesday morning to discuss plans to help preserve the environment around them. The club occasionally hosts nature walks, but their most popular event is the Earth Jam. For the past 2 years Earth Club hosts a concert to showcasing local artists and raising money for associations in environmental services

Earth Club, like LDIW, is committed to keeping the world clean and safe for all who inhabit it Through activities, campaigns and events, LDIW’s vision of a clean waste-free world is slowly but surely becoming a reality.