The Great Global Cleanup

8 Locations Around the World That Really “Did” The Great Global Cleanup

This Earth Day’s Great Global Cleanup celebrated its 5th anniversary this year. With a mission to create a waste-free world – the Great Global Cleanup is active in 190 countries and activates millions of volunteers every single year.  In 2024 we got extra busy and here are some of our favorite cleanups! Thank you to EVERYONE who took part around the planet! We appreciate you and what you do.  

1. Malaysia

Penang Island

See more from the Cleanup Here

This year EARTHDAY.ORG partnered with The Malaysia Humanitarian Foundation on the beautiful island of Penang, Malaysia to host a massive tree planting, a huge cleanup, and help host the Asian Environmental Summit. All of it happening in one action packed weekend on the island. With over 250,000 volunteers taking part and with 1.2 million trees planted  – all 30 varieties were indigenous species to Penang Island.

Volunteers from the environmental summit not only helped plant the trees but also took charge of several cleanups to help remove over 1800 pounds of trash and plastic pollution.

The Asian Environmental Summit took place at Penang City Hall and hosted speakers from NGOs from all over the globe along with celebrities like EARTHDAY.ORG ambassador, Melissa Tan. A key focus of the summit was to activate the youth to get involved in their own communities to help build a more sustainable world. 

Volunteers apart of the massive tree planting effort across Penang Island
Speakers at the Asian Environmental Summit posing for photos
Cleanups volunteers removing trash off of Penang Island shoreline

2. Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

EARTHDAY.ORG partner Sai Gon Xanh led a stunning cleanup in the bodies of water of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam that can truly be described as epic.

After hunting for the perfect cleanup location via satellite, the team of 200 volunteers, took to Tân Kiểng, a lake that had a literal blanket of plastic floating on top of it, to remove the trash. Some volunteers sat in boats collecting trash, while many others were geared up in wetsuits, gloves, and masks and braved getting into the river to collect the trash by hand. It was an AMAZING EFFORT. 

Strategic Director of Sai Gon Xanh, Huynh Anh Tuan, said “This campaign coincided with a major holiday in Vietnam. Instead of lounging on the beach, we decided to make our vacation meaningful by tackling this massive dump site and cleaning it up! Surprisingly, 200 volunteers joined us. Despite the scorching 40-degree heat, dangerous waters, and foul smell, we didn’t back down. We were thrilled to see the results after the long campaign.” You can see the before and after via satellite images below. 

Sai Gon Xanh works to educate and inspire those in Vietnam and globally with over 3 million followers on TikTok. 

Sai Gon Xanh Volunteers deep in polluted waters
Volunteers working together to pull out waste and plastic in the waters
Volunteers using boats to clean up trash while having fun

3. Austria


From April 15-30, the online cleanup movement, Planet Matters, organized a cleanup roadtrip across the entire nation of Austria!

They visited each district to engage students in cleanups at local schools, corporate volunteers, and anyone who wanted to support them, using TikTok videos to drive engagement. With over 3 million followers on Tiktok, they used social media to raise awareness about plastic pollution, encouraging people around the world, not just Austria, to actively participate in cleanup efforts. 

During their incredible road trip, 22 year-old founder, Felix Krainer, posted daily videos on his TikTok page to inspire young activists to get involved. 

The event also featured challenges with awards given for the most trash collected and for the funniest item found, which included old watches, entire car seats, a selection of underwear and, ofcourse, a TON of plastic. Krainer uses humor to get the job done and you can see our interview with Felix Krainer here

Trash removed by student volunteers during Planet Matter’s Austrian roadshow.
Founder, Felix Krainer searches for trash in the woods.
Group photo of Planet Matters Volunteers in Austria

4. United States

North Carolina, Raleigh

In our continued efforts to highlight under-served communities across the world, EARTHDAY.ORG partnered with The Great Raleigh Cleanup on their Work Force campaign in which they work with people experiencing homelessness  –  paying them fair wages – to carry out cleanups in their own community. 

Over April, they did three separate cleanups with eight members of the Raleigh community experiencing homelessness and removed 540 pounds of waste! For these individuals the money they earn from their work is often the difference from them sleeping on the streets one night or being able to afford a night at a hotel, a meal and a hot shower. Plus they have helped everyone live in a cleaner environment along the way!

As founder of The Great Raleigh Cleanup, Preston Ross III, explained in a blog post about the campaign, “I hear about the nights that they get a hotel room and the levels to that. Is this a night for a roach infested room with no wi-fi or is this the night I get a clean room, with a couch, and hot water, and CABLE. I asked them, how often do you get a clean room? The answer is ‘the days we get to work with you’.”

WorkForce volunteers pose in front of a local police car.

5. Armenia


For the very first time, EARTHDAY.ORG partnered with youth environmental powerhouse, Maqoor, to help support their nascent environmental movement in Armenia. Again, cleanups and hosting an environmental summit were on the agenda, this time at the American University of Armenia. 

On April 20th, volunteers took action at three locations across the ancient capital city, collecting over 750 pounds of trash. One of these locations was Yerevan Lake, which is overlooked by the United States Embassy and the Saint Cross Church. Volunteers removed plastic, aluminum and glass from the street surrounding the lake and the shore line, separating the trash as they collected. Many of the young cleanup leaders stood at the shoreline pulling in trash that was floating on the riverside. 

Immediately after these cleanups, the volunteers changed, showered, and headed to the American University of Armenia to participate in the summit.  Students who were at the conference having been at cleanups were able to set up a proper waste management system at their own school after connecting with city municipality officials, who were present at the conference! 

Volunteers sorting trash at Yerevan Lake
Maqoor Co-founder, Hrachya Sahakyan removing trash from the shore of Yerevan Lake
EARTHDAY.ORG’s, Michael Karapetian, speaking at the Armenian Environmental Summit at the American University of Armenia, next to Maqoor Co-founder, Hrachya Sahakyan.

6. Luxembourg

Luxembourg City

Before heading to the Earth Day, 2024, March in Luxembourg City, where volunteers would demand that the Luxembourg government backed renewable development and divestment from fossil fuels -activists led a large cleanup in the Luxembourg Gare area. 

The Volunteers removed over 180 pounds of waste and plastic pollution and coordinated with local waste management so that all this trash was properly disposed of.

The Cleanup was led by EARTHDAY.ORG partner, Clean Something For Nothing, the organization that created an app which allows volunteers, globally, to track their cleanups from their phone. 

Their goal is to inspire people to organize and take part in cleanups and to that end they have instigated several hundred volunteers to do just that in 2024 alone.

European Climate Pact volunteer picking up trash
Group of volunteers removing trash from natural debris
Group photo of Volunteers at Clean Something For Nothing Cleanup in Luxembourg

7. United States

California, Compton

EARTHDAY.ORG partnered with The Compton Initiative for a cleanup and beautification event in Compton, California. This cleanup was part of EARTH DAY.ORG’s continued efforts to support under-served communities in the Global Cleanup Movement. 

At this beautification event, more than 150 volunteers joined together to paint eight residential fences and tidy up the neighborhood surrounding the LightHouse location. Another 80 volunteers rallied at Lincoln Memorial Park to clean and beautify the cemetery there with another 80 volunteers dispersed to the Compton Courthouse Complex for painting and clean up. It was an incredible effort. 

Five 40 yard dumpsters were filled to the top as volunteers and residents cleaned the streets. Many people from the local community came out and expressed their gratitude to the volunteers and it was a joyous occasion. Todd Bouquet, program coordinator of The Compton Initiative described the event by saying, “Unity was lifted up, community was strengthened, and family was broadened!”

Aerial shot of Compton Neighborhood being beautified.
Volunteers removing trash, and painting fences and sidewalks
Orientation briefing of volunteers in Compton

8. Ukraine


In the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, sits the Ukraine Catholic University. Though removed from the battle front, the specter of air raid sirens is a constant reminder that war is not far away.

Taking to heart EARTHDAY.ORG’s message to come together and take action for a healthier planet and brighter future, local students from the Ukraine Catholic University registered their clean up event on the Great Global Clean Up page. Led by students from the Walking and Talking English Club, Anastasia and Sofiaa, 14 volunteers from the university came out on Saturday April 20th, to beautify and remove waste and plastic pollution from the Stryjska Street Nature Trail. We are super proud of their incredible efforts in such turbulent times. 

The volunteers removed several trash bags from the trail, and at one point an air raid siren sounded warning of incoming bombs meaning the clean up crew was momentarily forced to seek shelter. Once the alarm quieted, guess what the students did? They returned to the trails to continue cleaning up trash, not letting the threat of bombs dissuade them from their mission. We applaud their efforts and thank them for being part of the Great Global Cleanup!

Read more about this amazing cleanup here.

Volunteers next to trash removed from Stryjska Street Nature Trail.
Trash collected during Ukrainian Cleanup
Group photo of volunteers activated during Earth Day in Ukraine

As we like to say, Earth Day is everyday and this important work continues to come rain, shine and even in the case of Ukraine, conflict. To join The Great Global Cleanup for our work this summer click here. Join us to create a waste-free world and create a supportive, green community.