Large-scale volunteer actions inspired by the Estonian cleanup campaign “Let’s Do It!” will take place in six different countries this weekend. These cleanups are part of a global grassroots action World Cleanup 2012, aimed to unite society in the participating countries to fight illegal dumping problems and a lack of awareness about protecting the environment. On 15 September cleanups are taking place in Belarus, Russia, Philippines, Armenia and Nigeria. On 16 September, volunteers in Malaysia are coming out to sweep their country clean.
Russia will experience what is promising to be the largest civic action seen in the country, when 100 000 participants from all 72 regions of Russia – from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka to Vladivostok – will join their hands to clean the country together. The co-ordinator of the Russian cleanup, Denis Stark, explained that the civic-led action is not just about the change in scenery, it’s about a more profound change in Russian civil society: “The ‘Let's Do It!’ clean-up action is an independent grass-roots initiative. Hundreds of local action co-ordinators and thousands of participants from all the regions of Russia have decided to clear away rubbish from the Russian countryside, without any orders from above.” He added: “It is like a ‘quantum leap’ – there used to be one state of civil society, and now it has become a new and different one. How it happened is unclear to us as well.” The organisers are looking to set a precedent in the waste handling process – hoping to recycle at least 30% of the collected waste.
The cleanup event being held in Nigeria is the fourth one that has been organised by the Nigerian NGO Children And The Environment (CATE) and the second on organised as part of the “Let’s Do It!” civic movement. The team is engaging a network of local organisers and NGOs to hold regional and local actions to spark up the civic society all around the country, rather than one major event on one day. Head of CATE Sola Alamutu stated: “We are cleaning up bit by bit and hoping that other organisations will follow us.” The team is focusing on a different community each year. This time the limelight is on a suburb loacted in the capital of Nigeria, called Mushin. “The biggest problem here is indifference towards environmental questions and we hope that through this real action we can change people’s attitudes,” said Ms Alamutu.
In September the cleanup actions will also take place in Argentina, Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Mauritius, Albania, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Macedonia, Kenya and Italy. The World Cleanup 2012 action calendar can be found here: www.letsdoitworld.org/cleanup_dates.
More than 70 similar one-day cleanups have taken place all over the world during past five years, propelled by the “Let’s Do It!” global civic movement, born in Estonia in 2008, when more than 50 000 volunteers came out to clean the whole country in just five hours. The largest actions so far have been conducted in Bulgaria (320 000 volunteers) and Slovenia (275 000 volunteers), other countries closely on their heels with hundreds of thousands of volunteers participating. The movement is uniting civic leaders in 94 countries this year by organizing a global World Cleanup 2012 action, consisting of one-day cleanup efforts, taking place in participating countries during 2012.
World Cleanup 2012 is supported by Skype, Outfit7, Estonian Air, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Estonian Ministry of the Environment.