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World Cleanup Day

World Cleanup Day - 18 September 2021

World Cleanup Day is a civic movement, uniting 180 countries and millions of people across the globe to clean up the planet, in one day.

Volunteers and partners worldwide come together to rid the planet of trash - cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from beaches, rivers, forests, and streets.

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.

Enormous amounts of waste are removed from the environment every year on World Cleanup Day. Last year 20 million volunteers participated across 24 time zones between New Zealand and Hawaii. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the day was an unprecedented success.

Plastic pollution continues to be high on the global agenda, as too much plastic still ends up in rivers and oceans. This year’s event will be a pro-active call to transition to a Circular Economy where the value of waste is never lost.


13 Steps to organise a cleanup event:

  1. Pick a cleanup site and run a risk assessment. Do not forget about a first aid kit and mobile phone.

  2. Think up a plan for disposing of the waste and plan the logistics. If necessary, contact the local municipal council or a recycling company.

  3. Promote the event with media and partners. Identify the team and cleanup area leaders.

  4. Organise volunteer insurance. Ensure that volunteers under 18 are accompanied by adults.

  5. Delegate cleanup areas to volunteer in pairs and groups. Distribute cleanup awareness material.

  6. Provide safety equipment for all volunteers. Provide hand washing facilities or hand wipes.

  7. Clarify that during the cleanups all man-made materials should be collected.

  8. During the cleanup sort the collected waste into the item groups. Separate materials that can be recycled and disposed of appropriately.

  9. If you find abandoned cars, weapons or suspicious items, contact the local police. Caution in handling hazards.

  10. Be environmentally sensitive: do not intrude on the bird nesting areas and aboriginal historical sites.

  11. Weigh the collected waste and put it in separate trash bags.

  12. Report the results. Send the number of people and amount of collected waste to the national team or coordinators.

  13. Take a group picture with World Cleanup Day symbolics. Share it with your local organiser for the biggest publicity https://www.letsdoitsouthafrica.org/. If you are in Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg, Camilo Ramada camilo@gemproject.org can put you in touch with Krispy Kreme donuts to get free donuts during the cleanup!

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