This year, World Cleanup Day is on 19 September, and there are a lot of ways you can support the movement or get involved.
People from all over the planet are making a combined effort to clean the planet in just one day.
Although the waste crisis seems like an unmanageable situation, taking part in this day can make a huge difference.
Keep reading for information on how you can get involved this year and the benefits this movement has on our environment.
What is World Cleanup Day?
World Cleanup Day is a huge civic movement that unites countries across the globe to work towards a cleaner planet. Last year, the campaign brought together more than 21.2 million people in 180 countries!
The movement began in Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 people worked to clean up the whole country in only five hours. From there, more and more countries wanted to get involved. Now, the cleanup begins in New Zealand and travels around the world before ending in Hawaii.
The best thing about World Cleanup Day is that participants from all age groups and backgrounds can tackle the waste crisis together.
The waste catastrophe is global and affects us all in different ways; it must be tackled with all the power we have.
Why does it matter?
No matter where we are in the world, disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can affect everyone.
When waste ends up at landfill sites, it can generate methane gas or release harmful substances which pollutes water and soil. Alongside this, waste can blow away and litter our streets, which in turn, harms the wildlife.
Due to COVID-19, there has been a considerable increase in plastic pollution all around the world due to PPE. So, this year more than ever, it is vital to play your part and help towards reducing waste.
How can I get involved?
There are plenty of ways you can get involved with World Cleanup Day. Each country has a leader, or a group of leaders, who work as volunteers to get people ready for the day.
Usually, there is a way to be involved with ‘regular team cleanups’, but due to COVID-19 and social distancing rules in many countries, it is not an option everywhere this year.
Below are some other ways you can get involved.
This year, the individual cleanup effort joins the challenge of picking up one billion cigarette butts. This doesn’t mean you have to go around physically picking up any cigarette butts you see, however.
Each year, six trillion cigarette butts are produced, and around four million of them end up in natural habitats and water bodies. One cigarette filter contains around 150 poisonous toxins, which can ruin 1000 litres of water.
So, to help stop cigarette butt littering, here are three steps you can take:
Warn your friends
Whether you are at work or hanging with family and friends, stop them throwing cigarette butts on the ground. Make sure you explain to them that a cigarette butt is highly dangerous waste and it is essential for it to go straight into the bin.
Spread the word
Many people are unaware of how much impact cigarette butts have on the environment. Help spread the message by sharing videos or visual aids.
There are videos that you could share on your social media or print outs that you could pin on your office notice board!
Help share the facts
To educate other people on how cigarette butt littering harms the environment, make sure you’re armed with the facts.
It takes 15 years for one cigarette butt to decay, and in 2030, we will have more cigarette butts than fish in the ocean.
You may be wondering how a digital cleanup is going to help the environment.
Well, similar to the environment, there is a huge amount of rubbish that takes up storage on our phones, tablets, and laptops.
If we delete unnecessary files and apps, we are not only extending the life of our gadgets, but we are also saving an impressive amount of CO2.
Here are three ways you can participate in the digital cleanup.
Clean your phone up
A great way to make space on your phone is by deleting any apps that you haven’t used or have only used a few times. Unnecessary apps consume energy, even when they are not in use!
Next, move on to sorting your photos out and deleting any duplicate selfies or blurry pictures. By doing this, your phone will perform better too.
Have you considered using a disposable camera when you’re out and about? This way, you can have physical copies of your photos and save a lot of phone storage too!
Clean your inbox
Have a full clean of your email inbox and get rid of all that spam! If you’re getting promotional and news emails that you don’t read anymore, unsubscribe from them.
Every spam email releases an estimated 0.3 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere. The carbon emissions come from the energy used to operate computers and access the internet.
You can delete emails in bulk, so it’s just a case of finding some time and going through them.
Clean your PC or laptop
Go through your PC or laptop and delete any unnecessary files.
Again, you’re likely to have duplicate and blurry photos, so make sure you delete any of these you come across!
Help however you can
If you don’t have a lot of free time, don’t worry – you can still get involved.
If every person makes a conscious effort on World Cleanup Day 2020 to reduce litter in some way or another, it will benefit the entire planet, and we will be closer to tackling the waste crisis.