TALLINN – Estonian Environment Minister Madis Kallas participated in the World Cleanup Day on the island of Saaremaa and said that cigarette butts are the biggest problem in terms of littering.
The World Cleanup Day, which is taking place for the fifth time, is this year focusing on beaches, water bodies and forests. The team of the Ministry of the Environment also helped to clean the shores of the Baltic Sea in different parts of Estonia. Minister of the Environment Madis Kallas, who participated in the cleanup efforts in Orissaare, said that although the island of Saaremaa is set as an example in the capital in terms of environmental cleanliness, several garbage bags were still filled together.
"Cigarette butts are thrown on the ground the most, but drink bottles, cups and other plastics are also found quite a lot on the beach and roadsides. At the same time, in terms of cleanliness, the situation is much better than ten years ago," Kallas said. He added that it is necessary to strive for a cleaner world both with legislation and with real actions. "Every day should be World Cleanup Day. Just because we put in more effort and clean up as much stuff as possible on one day of the year does not mean we can act irresponsibly the rest of the year. We have to make our small contribution every day so that the nature around us remains litter-free."
However, the heroes of World Cleanup Day are children and young people, with more and more of them participating every year. According to Kallas, kindergarten and school children deserve praise -- adults should follow their example and, for example, organize a joint communal work day with their team.
On Friday, the team of the Ministry of the Environment cleaned the Pikakari beach in Tallinn, where cigarette butts made up the biggest share of litter as well. Although the Baltic Sea is one of the cleanest in Europe, marine litter in the Gulf of Finland is a growing problem. Cigarette butts are also one of the ten most common plastics found in marine litter.