World Cleanup Day – World’s Largest Event in 2020 Held on Saturday

 Millions of people from up to 180 countries have pledged to participate on World Cleanup Day held on Saturday, September 19. A 24-hour green wave of cleanups is stretched across the planet beginning in Australia and ending in Hawaii. Besides the general cleanup goal, the aim is to collect 1 billion cigarette butts.

To put the goal in perspective – over one billion cigarettes are consumed in total annually in Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Six trillion cigarette butts are produced each year, while 75 per cent or 4.5 trillion of these end up in nature. Cigarette filters are a major plastic pollutant contributing to the micro-plastic problem that the world faces today. A single cigarette filter contains over 150 poisonous toxins and is capable of ruining 1000 litres of water.

World Cleanup Day is joined by volunteers across the globe including a list of political leaders, professional athletes, and other celebrities. The Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas personally joins the World Cleanup Day for the third year in a row.

“Today, during the corona pandemic, we have to be even more concerned about the future of our home – a healthy and clean Earth. The mismanaged waste problem has worsened globally because of the pandemic. To join forces for the clean world is more important than ever. The solution is to tackle waste together – the public, the private and the civic sector – for our environment,” says the Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas.

World Cleanup Day is organised by Let’s Do It World NGO. Heidi Solba, the President of Let’s Do It World explains that the arrangements have been more complex than ever before. “Organising and holding the event amidst a pandemic is a challenge. But the increasing plastic waste problem can no longer be pushed aside. In Europe especially, we may not realise that the smallest waste plays an important role in pollution. For instance, one of the biggest sources of the micro-plastic problem prevalent in world seas are cigarette butts washed into the oceans with stormwater,” she said.

“To participate in World Cleanup Day, we suggest people rather go to individual cleanups. We ask everyone to comply with the local government’s guidelines for group gatherings. We also provide an opportunity to people in high-risk communities or who feel unwell to stay at home and do a digital cleanup instead. This means deleting all unnecessary files from our digital devices. It extends the lifespan of our gadgets and decreases CO2 waste,” added Anneli Ohvril, Executive Director of Let’s Do It World.

World Cleanup Day is the largest single peacetime civic action against waste, aimed at raising awareness of the scale of the global waste crisis threatening the environment and the lives of millions of people and all living beings. The most recent World Cleanup Day was organised last year in 2019 and engaged 21,2 million people in 180 countries.

World Cleanup Day is organised by Let’s Do It World. The organisation was born in Estonia in 2008 when 4 per cent of the Estonian population came outside to clean the country in one day. World Cleanup Day will be the opening event for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) Action Week, lasting from 18th to 26th September.

The global coordination of World Cleanup Day is funded by the Government of the Republic of Estonia. World Cleanup Day partners with African Union, AIESEC, Earth Day Network, Fridays for Future, Good Deeds Day, JCI, United Nations, UNESCO, and many others. World Cleanup Day is also supported by National Foundation of Civil Society, Europark, Pipedrive, Dagcoin, Levercode, ZabodBBDO, Meedius, Hydroscand, Mapri Ehitus, Telia, DHL, Tahe Outdoors, Sorainen, Ösel Birch, and other donors around the world.

Call to action video by the Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas
Photo gallery of World Cleanup Day in 2019 joined by the Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas
A sketch produced by Estonian artist NOËP to activate fellow people around the world to participate at World Cleanup Day 2020

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