Dame Jane Goodall endorses the Estonian-initiated World Cleanup Day

Dame Jane Goodall, the British primatologist and the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, has given her support to the World Cleanup Day that this year takes place on 19 September across the world.

“I wholeheartedly support World Cleanup Day. Waste and waste management are huge problems around the world,” she said in a statement, released by the Tallinn-based NGO, Let’s Do It World, that is responsible for organising the global cleanup event.

“The use and discarding of plastic is a particularly urgent problem that has a massive impact on wildlife, as it is washed into rivers and oceans. And there is so much else that is horribly harmful to life on Planet Earth – life, which includes humans: discarded batteries, cigarette-ends, phones, electrical equipment–the list is endless,” she said. “Every individual makes a difference every day. Together we can make this a cleaner and safer world.”

Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960.

The World Cleanup Day to raise awareness about cigarette butt pollution

The first World Cleanup Day took place on 15 September 2018 and united 18 million people across 157 countries and territories for the biggest waste collection day in human history. The 36-hour wave of cleanups began in New Zealand and finished in Hawaii. The second one, on 21 September 2019, involved 21 million people in 180 countries. 

The World Cleanup Day 2019 in Nepal.

This year, the World Cleanup Day draws a particular attention to cigarette butts as this is the most common waste type collected in the cleanup actions organised by the Let’s Do It World.

“There are six trillion cigarette butts produced each year and 4.5 trillion of them end up in nature – in natural habitats and water bodies,” the organisation said in a statement. “Its effect is devastating on our natural resources – one cigarette filter contains more than 150 extremely poisonous toxins capable of ruining 1,000 litres of water and takes 15 years to disintegrate. Since the cigarette butts are made of plastic, the decaying filters contribute massively to the micro-plastic problem the world faces today.”

Besides all the other waste that will be collected, Let’s Do It World network plans to gather a billion cigarette butts on World Cleanup Day, on 19 September, to illustrate the problem.

The Let’s Do It! movement started in Estonia in 2008 when 50,000 people came together and cleaned up the entire country in five hours. It has since grown into global operation and engaged tens of millions of environmentally savvy volunteers around the world.

Cover: Jane Goodall. Photo by Jane Goodall’s Facebook page.

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