Earth Day Network, the global organizer of Earth Day, yesterday announced a partnership with National CleanUp Day and Keep America Beautiful to remove trash across the United States amid a global pandemic. Throughout the month of September, Earth Day Network joins these organizations in encouraging Americans to get outside and safely clean up their communities.
Held annually on the third Saturday in September, National CleanUp Day addresses the issue of mismanaged waste and litter across America. On Sept. 19, the nationwide day of service will get communities involved to keep their own neighborhoods clean and sustainable. Since its inception in 2017, hundreds of thousands of participants have helped clean up parks, beaches, rivers, and forests across the country. Volunteers can share their experience and see how people around the country are participating by sharing and following the #trashtag hashtag on social media.
Keep America Beautiful is hosting its second annual TrashDash plogging fun run on Sept. 20. The one-day, global movement encourages individuals around the world to participate either remotely in their local areas or on-site in Stamford, Conn. Plogging, the combination of picking up litter while jogging, empowers people of all ages to take action to improve their environment. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 TrashDash brings a heightened awareness to the critical issue of littered personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves, on the ground and in waterways. Virtual participants are encouraged to plog at any site in their community and share results on Instagram by tagging @KeepAmericaBeautiful and including the hashtags #DoBeautifulThings and #TrashDash.
Due to COVID-19, precautions have been put in place to keep volunteers safe and healthy across all events. Volunteers may only participate in individual or small cleanups. Participants should adhere to local coronavirus guidelines and are required to wear gloves, practice social distancing, and perform robust sanitation practices. Masks are mandatory in many locations.
To help volunteers find local cleanups and document their work around the country, National CleanUp Day and Keep America Beautiful are using the interactive map at CleanUp.EarthDay.org and NationalCleanupDay.org to track organized cleanups. During each cleanup, volunteers can also help advance citizen science by recording the trash they collect with the new Earth Challenge 2020 mobile app. The initiative seeks to understand the extent of global plastic pollution.
“In the age of COVID-19, Earth Day Network, National CleanUp Day, and Keep America Beautiful are especially grateful for the help of all our cleanup volunteers,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “This work is crucial to keep our planet clean, sustainable and thriving.”
National CleanUp Day co-founder Steve Jewett believes volunteers can still make a huge difference this year, despite the lack of large-scale cleanups due to the pandemic. “We anticipate individual and small-scale cleanups throughout the entire country and encourage people to get outside and help if they’re able to safely do so, even if it just means picking up one piece of litter. Many small actions can equal a large positive change, and that is what National CleanUp Day is all about.”
“The partnership between Keep America Beautiful, Earth Day Network, and National CleanUp Day comes at a critical moment to protect our planet,” said Helen Lowman, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “With collective action and the upcoming Keep America Beautiful TrashDash, we can mobilize volunteers to celebrate our environment and create cleaner, greener, and more beautiful communities around the world.”