Millions Participate in World, National Cleanup Day

This past Saturday, September 21, an estimated 20 million people across 179 countries and territories participated in World Cleanup Day, with nearly two million participants in the U.S. for National Cleanup Day. Commencing the day after an estimated four million people, predominantly youth, participated in a global climate strike, World Cleanup Day and National Cleanup Day continued to build on the momentum of greater action in the face of the climate crisis.

Around the world, participants of all ages and backgrounds tackled out-of-control waste, educated others on the perils of single-use plastic and encouraged individuals and governments to change behavior and policies regarding consumption and waste.

In addition to Let’s Do It World, the organization behind World Cleanup Day, countless participating groups from Saturday’s cleanups will be participating in Earth Day Network’s Great Global Cleanup campaign in support of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020.

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 “The tremendous increase in volunteers shows that people are taking pride in their local communities.  They are proof that we can make a difference, by just picking up just one piece of litter and have fun doing it,” said Bill Willoughby, co-founder of National CleanUp Day.

“In 2020, we will partner with more cities, land managers, and non-profits. Let’s show everyone how proud we are” said Steve Jewett, co-founder of the non-profit National CleanUp Day.

In Brazil, across 1,200 cities and towns, more than 500,000 people participated in the cleanup, and by the day’s end, nearly 6,000 tons of waste had been collected. From more than 60 cleanup sites in Sao Paolo to cleanups within the Amazon Rainforest, the event was Brazil’s largest cleanup event in its history. With involvement from numerous NGOs, the country’s ministry of the environment, and some of Brazil’s largest private companies, the country exemplified what can be achieved when various sectors of society unite together toward a common goal. In an email to Earth Day Network, President of Let’s Do It World – Brazil Edilainne Muniz was overjoyed at the turnout in her country, saying that the cleanups “clearly represents the commitment and willingness of the society to take care and preserve their cities and the environment.”

In India, from Kolkata to Assam, thousands of volunteers came out to continue their cleanup efforts. Led by staff from Earth Day Network – India, their events brought further attention to the extent of plastic pollution. Photo Credit: Earth Day Network India
In Myanmar, Near Inya Lake, Yangon, a joint effort between the Earth Day Network and Trash Hero saw 30 volunteers collect 70 kilograms of waste. (Photo Credit: Earth Day Network Myanmar)

Numbering more than 30,000 volunteers in 250 cities, German volunteers participated in cleanups in all types of locations – from rural forests to dense urban centers. (Photo Credit: Let’s Do It World – Germany)
In the Senegal’s city of Dakar, EDN affiliates hosted both a cleanup and a rally in support of the #GlobalClimateStrike, bringing out hundreds of volunteers for one of the city’s largest cleanups to date. (Photo Credit: Earth Day Network Senegal)

Across 11 time zones and 70 regions in Russia, tens of thousands of volunteers in the world’s largest landmass country participated in community cleanups. “We share a common goal, which is sustainable cleanliness … And that is why this year we are inviting everyone to hold cleanups not only on natural territories [but everywhere that waste is found], said Anastasia Nikulina, the coordinator for Let’s Do It World! – Russia, in a statement. (Photo Credit: Let’s Do It World – Russia)