They Did It! Belarus Engaged 15 Times More People Compared to Last Year

On April 9th the clean-up campaign was held in Belarus showing incredible results: although the numbers are not final yet, we know today that 23 000 people took part in the event. This is a dramatic increase in the numbers of participants in comparison with last year, when only 1500 activists joined the campaign. This year people from all walks of life – young people, students, ministry workers, moms with children, school kids, the elderly – helped to clean 21 locations in Minsk, and over 500 throughout Belarus.

The team of organisers admitted they didn’t expect so many participants. Altogether 560 000 litres of waste was collected, the most common waste being household waste such as plastic/glass bottles, plastic bags, cigarette butts, but there were also some unexpected findings such as metal bed frames, stoves and car parts.

At some locations, special info signs were put in the parks stating that the places were cleaned up by the actions of Let’s Do It! Belarus.

We asked the Belarus team leaders for the recipe to their success: “We had more media coverage than last year, and we collaborated more with state authorities, because they are also interested in a clean country. Last year we had only one ministry as a partner, and this year three of them. We have also attracted businesses to provide volunteers with necessary materials such as bags, gloves and posters.”

Photo: Let's Do It! Belarus

Photo: Let’s Do It! Belarus

Belarussian team leaders say there is a stereotype among the citizens that Belarus is a clean country. “Cities are really clean, but problems begin in the green areas. Garbage is usually left behind by picnic-goers. There are also people who take their garbage to the forest instead of throwing it in a container. Our typical waste is plastic and glass bottles, packaging. During the clean-ups we often find car tyres, old TVs and refrigerators.”

Belarus is already planning their next clean-up in October 2016. “But all interested Belarusians can do their clean-ups whenever they want, we will help with spreading the information and will provide volunteers with garbage bags and gloves.”

But what about the 2018 world clean-up day? Belarus is in. “We need to work harder to attract more activists in the regions and attract more media attention.”