Millions of people participate in World Cleanup Day and National Cleanup Day | Earth Day Network

By Austin Downs

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 4 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.

As a presenting partner to World Cleanup Day and National Cleanup Day, we wanted to highlight several countries’ participation and impact. 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.

United States

From Sea to Shining Sea – in all 50 U.S. states and territories – over 2 million volunteers have united to cleanup.

“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.

A key partner in the Great Global Cleanup™, National Cleanup Day is proud of all the volunteers who made their third annual event successful.  “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.

(Photo credit: National Cleanup Day)

(Photo credit: I Love a Clean San Diego)

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 Limpa Brasil 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.”

(Photo Credits: Volunteers/Instituto Limpa Brazil) 

(Photo Credits: Route Brasil)

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)

Myanmar

Near Inya Lake, Yangon, a joint effort between the Earth Day Network and Trash Hero saw 30 volunteers collect 70 kilograms of waste. Way to go!

(Photo Credit: Earth Day Network Myanmar)

Portugal

In Lisbon, EDN affiliate Route Portugal brought out dozens of volunteers to cleanup one of the city’s most iconic beaches, collecting 37 kilograms of waste in just one hour!

(Photo Credit: Route Portugal)

Germany

Numbering more than 30,000 volunteers in 250 cities, volunteers participated in cleanups in all types of locations – from rural forests to dense urban centers.

(Photo Credit: Let’s Do It World – Germany)

Senegal

In the capital 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)

Russia

Across 11 time zones and 70 regions, 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)

Austin Downs is the EDN Cleanup Coordinator for the Great Global Cleanup™.