The Monumental Importance of World Clean Up Day and How You Can Participate
Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash
Did you know that humans throw away 2.12 billion tons of waste a year, and there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris currently floating in the world's oceans? Reading these statistics can feel overwhelming, and you might feel hopeless wondering what you can do to help.
September 17th, 2022 is World Clean Up Day, and 60 million volunteers from 191 countries unite to take on this global waste crisis. This astonishing effort is part of an ongoing movement to create a more sustainable earth, and you can be a part of it!
A Brief History of World Clean Up Day
The first World Clean Up Day occurred in 2008 in Estonia. 50,000 people came together for 4 hours and cleaned up an entire country! This staggering feat inspired millions of people, and by 2012 the Let's Do It World movement was born.
Fast forward to 2021. Over 13.5 million volunteers in 191 countries collected 53 million kilograms of waste, including 10 million cigarette butts. 2022 is guaranteed to be even more astounding!
How You Can Personally Participate in World Clean Up Day
Here are some ways you can get involved in World Clean Up Day.
1. Volunteer to Join a Team: Numerous teams from around the world have already formed. Simply go to the above link and entry your country to see a map of teams. It's a fun way to meet new friends while becoming a part of the sustainable world solution.
2. Become a Clean Up Organizer: If you cannot find a volunteer team in your area, why not start your own? You can register your event and invite volunteers to participate. You can hold your event any day before September 17th, and your results still count. Your cleanup event will appear on the global World Clean Up Day map, and there is a toolkit with tons of information on how to organize cleanups.
3. Contact Human Resources at Your Work: Maybe you don't want to be in charge of organizing a team for World Clean Up Day. HR at your job is probably looking for just this type of team-building activity to give back and improve company morale.
4. Be a Solo Hero: Don't have time to commit to a volunteer shift or can't find anyone in your area to join you? Grab a pair of gloves and a bag and start picking up where ever you want! Every effort counts, no matter how big or small!
Donate To Support World Clean Up Day
If you can't physically participate on World Clean Up Day, you can still help by donating. The project's ultimate goal is to engage 5% of each country's population in some way, whether fiscally or by volunteering.
Donations can be made to Let's Do It World, a global organization that orchestrates the worldwide event. Almost all of the team members at Let's Do It World are volunteers. Its mission is to unite individuals, communities, governments, and groups to help create a sustainable future.
Some other projects that Let's Do It World runs are a program to pick up cigarette butts, a Digital Clean Up Day, a Sustainable Environmental Education Program, and an E-Communities Sorting and Composting program. No donation is too small, and every penny makes a difference.
Daily Habits To Help Sustainability
When you think about ways to help with the world's waste management problem, it can sometimes feel like you are just one drop in a massive ocean. You don't have to go from your usual routine to Zero Waste overnight.
Here are several suggestions you can do to help the sustainability movement. Many of them are easy, common sense habits that you can start today... and they will save you money!
• Switch to reusable water bottles. 91% of plastic water bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills or the ocean.
• Change all of the lightbulbs in your home to LED. You will use 75% less energy, and LED bulbs last 35 times longer.
• Shop at your local farmer's market. Not only does this reduce carbon emissions, but you are supporting your community.
• Adhere to the recycling protocols in your area. Each system is different, so be sure to educate yourself.
• Just say no to plastic bags!
• Compost your food and yard waste. It's easy and fun. Plus, you can use your compost in your garden next year.
• Donate used clothing to charity instead of throwing it away. The fashion industry contributes up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
• When going for a walk, take a tote to pick up trash. You can even make a game out of it with your coworkers, friends, or kids.
• Rethink your transportation. Bike to work if you can or carpool to events.
The good news is that with events like World Clean Up Day and by making small changes in daily habits, you can make a difference. The earth and your