TALLINN, Estonia – It is no secret that solid waste presents a pressing global challenge that demands immediate attention and direct action. As one of the largest civic peacebuilding actions in the world, the World Cleanup Day tackles solid waste head-on, coordinating global one-day cleanups that bring together millions of individuals from over 190+ countries. What began in Estonia as a cleanup with 50,000 people in 2008 has evolved into a global movement, reaching the majority of nations worldwide. During the past five years, an astonishing 70 million people have rallied for the cause, mobilizing in a united front for the SDGs. On September 17, 2022 alone, 15 million volunteers were mobilized, dedicating 30 million hours to remove around 60,000 tons of waste from nature in a monumental effort to protect the environment – in just one day!
World Cleanup Day not only defies limitations, it also redefines possibilities. In Afghanistan, individuals carried out cleanups despite widespread opposition to coordinated civic actions. Even amid the war in Ukraine, World Cleanup Day mobilized 120,000 individuals for cleanups in conflict zones. Cyprus witnessed a historic moment as both Greek and Turkish communities united to clean their country and, despite catastrophic flooding, World Cleanup Day activists in Pakistan rallied 15,000 participants to take action. Meanwhile, in Mozambique, the initiative activated a critical mass of two million people, including a significant number of school children. World Cleanup Day exemplifies the power of unity, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of a cleaner world. Through these sustained efforts, World Cleanup Day fosters a profound and lasting shift in behavior, paving the way for a sustainable future.
As a finalist in the Mobilize category, World Cleanup Day serves as a remarkable catalyst, uniting individuals, organizations, and governments in a collective effort towards environmental sustainability. The initiative’s goal is to engage at least five percent of each country’s population, demonstrating the power of unity in driving positive change. By inspiring widespread participation and active engagement, it harnesses the power of collective action to address pressing environmental challenges. This initiative brings individuals together, raising awareness on Climate Action, and fostering partnerships between sectors to accelerate progress towards a sustainable world and to achieve the SDGs. It goes beyond awareness, empowering individuals to take tangible steps such as waste reduction and responsible consumption. Through its inclusive approach, it gives hope and belief that change is possible when we act together.