Massive civic cleanups in Albania, Austria, Croatia, USA, Latvia, Lithuania and Egypt this weekend

This weekend will see massive civic cleanup actions in three different continents and in 7 different countries. The cleanup actions are aiming to bring out altogether half a million volunteers, dedicating their day to clean up illegally disposed waste from land and sea on 20th, 21st and 22nd of April. The cleanup actions are all part of the World Cleanup 2012 civic action series, taking place from 24th of March until 25th of September this year, uniting more than 90 countries.

In Albania more than 75 000 volunteers (2,5% of the inhabitants) are expected to join the cleanup on the 20th of April. “We want to see our country reveal it’s beautiful and waste-free face,” says the national coordinator, Lorenc Gjoka. The goal of the action, according to Gjoka, is to not just gather 25 000 tons of garbage but to raise the awareness of the communities in the matters of garbage, voluntarism and environmental issues in general. The team is also working in cooperation with ministries to improve the laws concerning environmental issues and to generate more sustainable waste handling solutions on a local and national level for the future.

Croatia is cleaning on the 21st of April in around 60 municipalities including 10 largest and most populated islands. The organizing team is hoping to gather more than 45 000 volunteers (1% of the inhabitants) from all over Croatia. „For people in our country, where it is extremely difficult to succeed without being involved in corruption, it is strange when somebody simple, not connected to important people on relevant positions, from a small village, can make a difference and motivate so many stakeholders and individuals,” says the initiator of Croatian cleanup, Helena Traub. She adds that the mission behind  the action is to change the patterns of behavior regarding garbage and environment in the society. According to Traub they find it important to mix some humour into the action and campaign as well: “For example, we are going to print T-shirts with the quote: “Your father could be the strongest but my father is mapping the most.“ 

The cleanup action in USA, California, taking place on the same day, April 21st, is fronted by popular TV-series True Blood actor Ian Somerhalder and his foundation. Action is called „Let’s get Dirty” and is aiming to join more than 2000 schools in a state wide effort to clean up local communities throughout the state of California. “The coming together of like minded individuals through action is what’s needed to see wide spread change, for us, for our planet and it’s creatures. This event provides a platform for individuals who want to see tangible results through active collaboration between nations, celebrities, business leaders and individuals,” said the frontman for the campaign, actor Ian Somerhalder.

On the same day a simultaneous cleanup event is taking place in San Francisco. Volunteers including residents, merchants and students will sweep up litter, plant and tend to trees, remove weeds and overgrown vegetation and do other collective actions to improve the state of shared public areas. Latvia and Lithuania, both cleanup veterans, having organized several country-wide cleanup actions since 2008, as a part of the civic movement Let’s Do It! are having the cleanup actions on Saturday. Lithuania’s last action in 2011 brought together 120 000 volunteers. Neighbor country Latvia, had as much as 190 000 volunteers participating in 2011. This time Latvian team has more tham 1300 cleaning spots already registered in all regions and municipalities – the organizers expect about 230 000 volunteers to join the action and clean up litter and illegal waste on 21st, which would mean that about 10 per cent of the country’s population would be directly participating in the action.

Austria, joining with fellow cleaners in Latvia, Lithuania,. California  and Croatia on the 21st is having the biggest civic cleanup action in country’s history – organizers expect at least 50 000 people in 800 municipalities to come out to clean the country on saturday. All municipalities have joined and are supporting the civic-led action involving many schools and organizations who are helping to coordinate the efforts on a local level. Sarah Reindl, the spokesperson of the initiative says, that their main purpose is not to just deal with the consequenses of illegal waste dumping but to raise awareness about littering problem in general. The team is looking to introduce different methods for waste reduction and is aiming to mobilize politicians and younger generations. “We were motivated to reach younger people and reflect on their waste behavior in order to make them stop throwing garbage out of the car windows or while walking on the streets. This is the starting point of more actions that will make people think about the waste reduction and strive for more conscious lifestyle,” Reindl added.

A day later, on 22nd of April, a cleanup action will also reach the third continent, sweeping over Egypt. The cleanups will take place from El Gouna, through Hurghada, Safaga to Marsa Alam, not only on the mainland, but also underwater and on islands of the Red Sea. Joanna Fotyga, a project manager from Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation association explains: “Here, in Egypt people are not educated enough about environmental friendly practices, and we hope that after this event the word will spread with a positive outcome, which should change the attitude of local people. Rubbish, that is freely disposed, causes big damage to the stunning Red Sea and its marine life. We believe that by getting involved as many people as possible, people will be more aware of what damage the plastic causes in the sea and its coastline.” Joanna adds that they are expecting around 400 people to participate in the event, but also have reached out to organizations to invite them to hold their independent cleanups: “We have asked many organizations and companies to organize their own local cleanup in the area they work, live or socialize. We asked them to invite all their friends and colleagues to participate, and afterwards to take pictures of the event and the collected rubbish.”

Next World Cleanup 2012 actions will be taking place on 28th and 29th of April in Ukraine and Greece, followed by cleanup action in Malta on 1st of May.

World Cleanup 2012 action calendar can be found here: https://www.letsdoitworld.org/cleanup_dates

 

More information about World Cleanup 2012 global effort-

Tiina Urm, head of communications, World Cleanup 2012

Phone: +372 53000515

E-mail: [email protected]

Homepage: www.letsdoitworld.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/letsdoitworld

 

More information on the cleanup actions:

Albania: 

Lorenc Gjoka, coordinator

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: +355 692 267 877

Skype: lorenc_gjoka

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/#!/AlbanianCleanup

Croatia: 

Helena Traub, campaign leader

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: +385 95 89 33 707

fax: +385 271 459

Skype: morska-vila

Webpage: www.zelena-cistka.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ZelenaCistka

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ZelenaCistka

USA, California: 

Stephanie Lapensee, public relations coordinator, Ian Somerhalder Foundation

E-mail: [email protected]

USA, San Fransisco:

Jen Drake,

e-mail: [email protected]

Webpage: www.isfoundation.com/campaign/lets-get-dirty; www.letsdoitsf.org/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/373615716012449/

Latvia:

Laura Zvaigzne, the spokesperson

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: +371 26431140

Webpage: http://www.talkas.lv

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Liela-Talka/175552402487326

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LielaTalka

Lithuania:

Vytautas Krasnickas, project manager

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: +37061641005

Webpage: http://mesdarom.lt

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mesdarom.lt

Austria:

Sarah Reindl, the spokesperson

E-mail [email protected]

Phone:+436601975872

Webpage: www.letsdoitaustria.org/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/letsdoitaustria

Egypt:

Joanna Fotyga, project manager

Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation association

E-mail: [email protected]

Address: B2, New Marina, Al Sakkala, Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt

Webpage: www.hepca.com