Last year, the civic-led waste clean-ups, part of the Let’s Do It! World campaign, engaged 3.4 million people in 34 countries who altogether collected about 45,000 tonnes of illegal waste.
Albania, Kenya, Libya, Macedonia, the Philippines, Russia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Romania, Colombia, Kosovo, Finland, Belarus, Hungary, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Malta, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia and the Czech Republic participated in clean-ups in 2015. The biggest actions were held in Sweden (804,570 participants), Ukraine (500,000), Lithuania (250,000), Hungary (170,000), Latvia (175,000) and Albania (150,000). In addition, the Let’s Do It! Mediterranean clean-up action was held in May, uniting 13 countries around the Mediterranean to clean up litter and draw attention to pollution of the sea.
The movement began in Estonia in 2008 when 50,000 people came together and cleaned up their entire country in five hours, removing 10,000 tonnes of waste and saving the government three years of work and €22 million. Today, Let’s Do It! is a global network of 112 countries, having engaged a total of more than 14.5 million participants.
However, Let’s Do It! is not just about dealing with the consequences of poor waste management and low awareness. “We are not only a movement of cleaning up – we want to create a lasting change. This change is already visible in Slovenia, for example, which held a massive waste clean-up campaign with 273,000 people just few years ago. Now, using the high awareness coming from the clean-up, the same group of people who initiated the mass clean-up are guiding Slovenia towards the Zero Waste model,” explained Rainer Nõlvak, the founder of the Let’s Do It! movement. The city of Ljubljana in Slovenia is also the first capital in Europe to adopt a Zero Waste strategy.
“People have learned to ignore the problem so successfully, that they don’t even notice it anymore. This is why we need a global cooperation and action to really address the issue to start living responsibly, because this is the only planet we have,” he added.
Cover: Let’s Do It! in Ukraine, April 2015.