World clean-up campaign in which hundreds of thousands of people volunteered to clean up their neighbourhoods originated in Australia in 1898. The very first campaign attracted as many as 40,000 people, and each year the number of participants grew, eventually spreading overseas too.
The world clean-up campaign in Poland
In 1994, the world clean-up campaign reached Poland. Since then, it has been coordinated by the Nasza Ziemia (Our Earth) Foundation. In 2020 alone, around 20,000 bags of waste were collected, amounting to approximately 14 tonnes of rubbish. This year, the figure may be even higher, as a record 400,000 volunteers have signed up to participate in the event.
Clean-up campaigns significantly impact our local area, as they simply make it cleaner. While paper dumped in the forest takes around 2-4 weeks to decompose, aluminium takes about 100 years, a plastic bottle 450 years, and glass up to 500 years. Thanks to the clean-up campaign, the local flora and fauna are kept safer, and the neighbourhood is more attractive!
This type of campaign also has long-term effects. It is part of environmental education and an opportunity to teach children the importance of caring for the environment!
People who want to participate in the world’s clean-up campaign can volunteer. Anyone who wants to devote their time and energy to doing something good can participate. It is also very easy to organise such an event yourself.
- Choose a location – A forest nearby? An area behind the garages? Perhaps a wild park? Surely you know a place in your neighbourhood that would benefit significantly from a clean-up. If not, take a walk in your area and look around!
- Set out the details – Once you find a good location, make sure it belongs to the municipality or you know its owner. It would be best if you asked for permission to carry out an event. In the case of communal areas, it is usually sufficient to announce your intention to carry out such an event (remember to include a specific date). Municipalities often support such campaigns by providing the organisers with refuse sacks and gloves. It is worth asking about this.
The key is to arrange the collection of collected waste. If it is a communal area, this is also a matter to be discussed with officials.
- Volunteers recruitment – Spread the word about your event to relatives, friends and neighbours. The more people take part, the more you will achieve! You can also create a dedicated even post on social media to get the message across. It is also a good idea to ask your local school or neighbourhood council to put up a poster. This way, you can reach even more people!
You might want to inform people involved to take their rubbish bags and gloves just in case. That way you will be sure to collect all the rubbish!
- Working together – Before the event, show the participants where to put the bags full of waste as it should be easily accessible for the rubbish truck. Also, let the team know whether the waste collected should be separated or not. If everyone has bags and gloves, you can get started!
- Waste collection – Take a photo of the bags of waste. Preferably so that their location is visible. Check the exact location on a map and count the bags. Whether the cleaning company is due to arrive the same day or later, this information may be needed by the officials with whom the refuse collection is arranged. It is worth sending the information by e-mail. This sends out a clear signal that such campaigns are needed and make sense!
Remember, whether you collect a kilo of rubbish or a tonne – any waste matters, even when you clean up the world without any special occasion. You don’t have to organise a clean-up campaign to collect some rubbish during a walk in the woods. You can act for the environment at any time.