Press Release

Over 20 Million Volunteers Take Action on National and World Cleanup Day

Demonstrating the Power of Working Together to Clean Up Our World in 24 Hours

October 24, Washington, D.C. – On September 21, over 20 million people across 179 countries and territories participated in National Cleanup Day and World Cleanup Day. The results are reported by Earth Day Network, the global coordinator of Earth Day with its national and global partners, National Cleanup Day and Let’s Do It World. The events are positioned in lead up to The Great Global Cleanup in April 2020 – expected to be the largest volunteer event in history in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Within the United States, National Cleanup Day confirmed that more than 2 million volunteers participated in community cleanups, representing all 50 U.S. states. “National Cleanup Day was our most successful cleanup event thus far,” said Bill Willoughby, co-founder of National Cleanup Day. “The turnout and results are reflective of the growing attention and desire of our volunteers to the global waste problem.” Internationally, World Cleanup Day organized cleanups large and small, urban and rural on all seven continents, including Antarctica. Citizens from 157 countries participated in World Cleanup Day across six continents, uniting an estimated 20 million volunteers for a single day of action. Volunteers worldwide were united by the common issue of managing and ending global waste. For instance, the small west African country of the Gambia saw around 8,500 participants across several dozen cleanups. Moreover, Mozambique brought out an estimated 350,000 people. In Kyrgyzstan, nearly 10% of their total population – 610,000 – came out to tackle waste and educate themselves and others on plastic pollution; even the country’s Prime Minister, Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev, took part. Below are several more highlights:
  • Paraguay: 90 cleanups with 1,310 volunteers, who cleaned up 2088 kg of waste.
  • Curaçao: 3,500 volunteers cleaned up 109 spots. 300,000 kilograms of trash was removed on land while 91 divers removed 850 kg of trash from water.
  • Kenya: 23 000 volunteers came out to clean up their country.
  • Estonia: 900,000 cigarette butts were collected, mostly by students and kindergarten children.
  • Indonesia: Over 9 million volunteers came out for cleanups across the country.
  • Albania: 100,000 volunteers took part in hundreds of locations.
  • Brazil: Cleanups took place in 1,200 cities. 500,000 volunteers participated and by the day’s end, nearly 6,000 tons of waste had been collected.
  • Angola: 8,000 volunteers in major cities and rural towns tackled out-of-control waste.
  • Benin: Almost 12,000 volunteers joined forces to clean up the country on World Cleanup Day.
  • Germany: Over 30,000 volunteers in 250 cities in Germany on a single day.
  • Russia: Across 11 time zones and 70 regions, tens of thousands of volunteers cleaned up their communities.
“The need for greater global participation in community cleanups could not come at a more urgent time,” said Merili Vares, executive director at the Let’s Do It Foundation. “Together with the Earth Day Network, we can mobilize whole communities like never before.” “We are excited that all of this engagement and momentum will carry forward to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day next April,” said Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers. “Together, worldwide, each of us can take part in catalyzing climate action.” A grant from Wells Fargo supports Earth Day’s role in National Cleanup Day and World Cleanup Day. About Us Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day (1970), Earth Day Network works with more than 75,000 partners in 190 countries to build environmental democracy. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Learn more at Let’s Do It World Foundation aims to unite the global community, raise awareness and implement true change to achieve a clean and healthy planet. For World Cleanup Day 2018, Let’s Do it World organized cleanups that mobilized 17 million people in 157 countries to say loud and clear that they wanted to live in a clean world. Learn more at National CleanUp Day is a call to action. National CleanUp Day is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to keeping our nation’s urban, rural, and outdoor public spaces free of litter and trash. Learn more at