World Cleanup Day (also known as WCD) is a global social action program aimed at removing plastic and other types of waste from the world’s coastlines, rivers, parks, cities, and trails.
On 15 September, a large number of volunteers and partners throughout 150+ countries came together to clean the Earth of trash.
The Let’s do it! Foundation has initiated several clean up actions across different countries throughout the last decade, with over 15 million volunteers taking part in total.
A world changing idea with a humble beginning.
The movement began in the small Northern European country of Estonia in 2008. 50,000 people came together to clean up up their entire country in just five hours.
This year the Let’s Do It! India and AIESEC not only focused on cleaning up the trash and mismanaged waste, but also created awareness among the individuals regarding the issue of having a clean and green Earth.
“Simply stopping the blood spilling out will not heal the wound”, said Anneli Ohvril, the head of the managing board of the Let’s do it!.
“With cleanups, we aim to draw attention to littering, trash blindness and general mismanagement of waste. Cleanups are not meant to replace regular waste management. Civic action must be followed up by effective waste management reforms, with waste collection improvements to be established everywhere.
We also need to look at what we are throwing away – it’s not waste until it’s wasted. We should see that we are throwing away resources and recognize their potential again,” added Ohvril.
World Clean up Day is being seen as a commencement towards Oct 2nd, 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi
The 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth marks a target date to largely improve the access to clean water and flushing toilets.
With an estimated 600 million people lacking access to clean water and flushing toilet in their own homes, might be a challenge. But this could be the biggest landmark in history as it provides a critical route in eradicating poverty and unhygienic conditions in the world’s 2nd largest nation.
The fastest-growing grass root movement in history.
This grass-roots movement inspired people worldwide to follow suit with the same ambition ‘one-country, one-day’ formula.
In India, more than 1,30,000 people from 95+ cities, from Leh to Pondicherry, took an initiative and contributed to the movement.
But the effort of the millions of volunteers united needs to be matched with more sustainable and long-term solutions. Not only from society, but also from business and governments.
“Through this action, we want to support and connect a new generation of community leaders, who are ready to act together to find lasting solutions. Our leaders in different countries are very determined people. They will to work against cultural prejudices, ignorance, climatic challenges, corruption and other very challenging circumstances. All to bring forth new perspectives, and bring their vision to life,“ Eva Truuverk pointed out.
How to keep it clean after the World Cleanup Day?
We also need to look at what we are throwing away – it’s not waste until it’s wasted. Reducing your waste is the best place to start.
With cleanups, attention is being drawn towards littering, trash blindness and general mismanagement of waste.
Cleanups are not meant to replace regular waste management. Civic action must be followed up by effective education and waste management reforms, with waste collection improvements to be established everywhere.
There are a few simple things that we can actually do every day to keep our cities clean. We all would like a saaf-sutra desh to live in.
It won’t even take much effort:
- Don’t litter. Dispose of your trash properly and carry it until you find a bin;
- Choose to reuse the hotel towels to save local water or take your own towel instead;
- Take a reusable or filtration water bottle;
- Take reusable bags when shopping;
- Avoid disposable products: cups, plates, spoons, etc;
- Prefer to buy refill products, instead of having new packages every time one is over;
- You can also reuse bowls, bottles, and jars as lunch boxes or to keep your food, instead of throwing it.
One of the biggest challenges for India is the lack of truly efficient waste management and recycling system throughout the nation. Much of the waste is simply abandoned and left mismanaged for years because of the lack of a collective responsibility.
It’s about time that we started considering the fact, that we, as the future of the nation, should focus on keeping our country clean and help to establish a disease-free India!
What role will you play in the fight against pollution?
If you also want to get a hands-on experience to support actions like these, check out our Volunteer Exchanges.
Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.