How to keep it clean after World Cleanup Day?

With fewer than 10 days to go to one of the biggest civic actions in human history – World Cleanup Day – the question, “What happens next?” comes up more and more. Millions of volunteers uniting for a global action across 150 countries is an effort that needs to be matched with steps from all […]

With fewer than 10 days to go to one of the biggest civic actions in human history – World Cleanup Day – the question, “What happens next?” comes up more and more. Millions of volunteers uniting for a global action across 150 countries is an effort that needs to be matched with steps from all sectors.

“Cleanups are not the long-term solution. Simply stopping the blood spilling out will not heal the wound. We need to pull out the knife and start the healing process,” said Anneli Ohvril, the head of the managing board of the Let’s do it! movement, propelling the World Cleanup Day. “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 recognise their potential again,” added Ohvril.

A group of researchers and experts, gathered in the Knowledge Team led by Enzo Favoino, has been working under the wing of Let’s do it! Foundation, towards creating The Keep It Clean Plan, to be released around the World Cleanup Day action. The Keep It Clean Plan (which collected support and input from many other NGOs working on sustainable waste management) embeds the principles of the zero waste strategy and practice. It consists of recommended actions for businesses, governments, citizens and NGOs to implement specific steps which help tackle the global challenge of mismanaged waste, optimise the management of resources included in our discards, tapping into the potential of creating jobs and promoting economic development of communities in reuse, repair, recycling and composting activities.  The Plan is supplemented by specific examples and references to policies and practices which may be part of the strategy.

As the leading expert in the team, Enzo Favoino, points out: “Truly overcoming the mismanaged waste crisis requires a concerted effort from different parties at different levels: from policymakers to innovative business models that design goods and materials for durability, repairability, recyclability, and minimise waste. It is essential to rethink supply and packaging of goods, to raise awareness of the waste problem and to implement different consumer behaviours. Avoiding most wasteful goods and services, reusing what is still useful, recycling and composting the rest, will have to become the guiding principle. Disposal must be minimised, and what cannot be reused, recycled or composted must be redesigned, or phased out of production.”

As a teaser, a short overview of the suggestions for governments, enterprises, NGOs and individuals, that can also be found in the Keep It Clean Plan, will be announced already on the 6th of September as the Keep It Clean Roadmap. The full Keep It Clean Plan will be released closer to the World Cleanup Day itself.

“The Keep It Clean Plan is just a start, a framing document: we want it to be a first step to inspire all concerned parties. We are welcoming good ideas and local solutions to keep this as a living document and develop the next steps together with our network and other interested communities. Everyone can make their own Keep It Clean Plan. It is clear that single local cleanups are not putting the plug in the flow of waste. We need to work together to shift our perspective and start putting the health of environment into collective focus,” added Anneli Ohvril.

Let’s do it! Foundation is looking to work in cooperation with the country and community leaders and with partners to develop further country-based roadmaps towards better waste management systems and policies, engaging public and private sectors as well as local communities. The further collaborative steps based on the Keep It Clean Plan will be decided together with the Let’s do it! country leaders at the 8th annual Clean World Conference, held in Tallinn on 24-27 January, 2019.

World Cleanup Day will gather millions of volunteers in 150 countries to unite with their energy, goodwill and concern for the environment, to clean their countries of waste pollution in a single day on 15 September 2018. World Cleanup Day is being propelled by the civic movement Let’s do it! World, which has been initiating cleanup actions across 113 countries throughout the last decade, with over 20 million volunteers taking part in total. The movement began in the small Northern European tech-savvy country of Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 people came together to clean up the entire country in just five hours. Technology created by former Skype chief architect and co-founder of Starship Technologies, Ahti Heinla, enabled the organizing team to map more than 10,000 trashpoints before the cleanup and arrange the work of 50,000 volunteers.

The year 2018 marks 100 years since the founding of the Republic of Estonia. World Cleanup Day 2018 is Estonia’s biggest gift to the world on its 100th anniversary.

More information about the centenary events can be found at www.EV100.ee

Tiina Urm, Head of Communication
Ph. +372 53000515
E-mail: [email protected]
Skype: tiinaurm