The Estonian Way to Clean up the Planet

Source: Arne Adar, Visit Estonia

The Estonian Way to Clean up the Planet

On the 18th of September, millions of people from around the world are coming together to work together for World Cleanup Day. These days, the world is glued to the screen, watching Blue Planet that sends worrying messages about the state of our beloved planet. At the same time, Estonians have been organising World Cleanup Day. This is the unique story of how a country of 1.3 million convinced more than 18 million people to come together to clean up the planet. 


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Clean air and clean food

Photo by: Mariann Liimal, Visit Estonia


Estonians are taught early on that a home is not just confined to four walls. It also includes the streets, valleys, hills, and rivers that surround us which should be treated with the same amount of respect as someone's own home. Estonian food and air are among some of the cleanest in the world. This is in part because of the ways that Estonians connect with nature and strive to protect it and the important wildlife around them. So, it's no surprise that Estonians have embarked on a mission to nurture a similar mentality across the world.

Estonians are great at organising community initiatives 

UNESCO listed Song and Dance celebration

Photo by: Jarek Jõepera

Estonians definitely know how to pull a crowd together. It's simply part of the Estonian mindset to do so when they see a problem.

This is easy to see in the Song and Dance celebration that has been held since the 19th century and is regarded as one of the most powerful movements in modern Estonian history. World Cleanup Day, a strong contender, was first held on 15 September 2018, starting at 10 am in New Zealand, and ended 36 hours later in Hawaii. During these daylight hours, millions of tons of illegal trash were removed from nature all over the world. Overall, this included more than 18 million people from 157 different countries.

World Cleanup Day was the flagship initiative of Let's Do It! Foundation that has made its mission to map and tackle world waste problem. The movement engaged more than 18 million people in nationwide cleanup campaigns and zero waste initiatives. This Estonian local community initiative is now the biggest civic action in the world and directly responsible for easing the planet of millions of tons of trash.

Today World Cleanup Day is the single largest civic action to fight against waste. The reason for World Cleanup Day isn't to replace normal waste management. Instead, the goal is to raise awareness of waste and promote more sustainable practices such as reducing consumption and embracing recycling and reuse.

Last updated : 06.08.2021
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