The World Cleanup day of last Saturday, September 18, 2021 is a great success worldwide. Thousands of volunteers, associations, nature organizations and companies have cleaned up litter both on land and on the water. Clean-ups have taken place in 181 countries worldwide. In the Netherlands there were not only clean-up campaigns via the worldwide organization World Cleanup Day, but also via numerous local and regional initiatives such as Maas Cleanup, Stichting de Noordzee and Schone Rivieren. As far as we know, there were more than 1560. But also in Germany and Belgium there were many people on their feet to clean up their environment on World Cleanup Day. A large part of these clean-up campaigns is organized by relations of the project partners of Litter Free Rivers and Streams (LIVES).
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The world has been made a bit cleaner
Both in neighborhoods and along local roads, on and along the water, thousands of volunteers were busy on Saturday September 18, 2021 during World Cleanup day. Armed with litter pickers, plastic bags, fishing nets, gloves and sometimes even boats, they jointly ensured that the neighborhood and nature were cleaned of annoying litter. This shows that the movement has clearly started. Groups of friends, families and associations, but also individual cleaners with a heart for nature, are committed to making the environment cleaner. Just like previous cleanups, special finds were made, such as bumpers, pieces from a shovel, tennis balls, fishing rods and much more.
LIVES partners & World Cleanup day
The LIVES partners consider a day like World Cleanup Day extremely important. Not only does it help to clean up, but it also raises awareness, both among participants and people who see these volunteers clean up. Seeing cleaning up hopefully makes people think, so that they will help with the next clean up.
Preliminary results of the World Cleanup day 2021 – The Netherlands
Thousands of volunteers around the world have removed many kilos of litter from nature. In the Netherlands too, many volunteers were ready to clean up in neighbourhoods, on the banks of streams and rivers and along the beach. Volunteers from various partnerships such as Stichting de Noordzee, Schone Rivieren and Maas CleanUp were provided with pegs, prods, gloves and garbage bags. But the waste wasn’t just collected to throw away. Some of this waste is ‘saved up’. This provides valuable information about the type of waste and the origin of the waste. That insight is essential to find structural solutions to the problem. Many organizations immediately started analyzing the litter found after all World Cleanup Day campaigns.
The first results: this year, cigarette butts are in first place, followed by cans of energy drinks and waste from well-known fast food restaurants. Candy wrappers were also found a lot, just like last year. But there is also good news: the number of plastic bottles found in nature has decreased by 37% compared to last year! The introduction of a deposit on plastic bottles has therefore achieved immediate results!
Provisional results of Belgium
In Flanders, Mooimakers and Limburg.net, among others, were the driving force behind World Cleanup Day 2021. This map clearly shows how many cleanup campaigns were registered. Gigantic! Many municipalities were supported by our Flemish LIVES project partners with materials so that cleaning could take place. In addition, there was also the organization ‘River Cleanup‘, which set aside a whole week to clean up various areas. On September 23, 2021, buses from all over Belgium came to Vervier to clean up here following the high water of July 2021.
Preliminary results from Germany
Of course, in Germany, many villages and towns were also cleaned up on World Cleanup Day. Exact figures are not yet known, but the links below illustrate that the urgency of cleaning up is also seen in Germany. Many hundreds of volunteers have committed themselves to a cleaner environment.