World Cleanup Day 2022: nearly 15 million from 190 countries participated despite challenging circumstances, also in Ukraine

  • 2023-01-26

The 6th World Cleanup Day engaged 14,9 million participants from 190 countries despite conflicts, natural disasters and wars. Altogether, 60 000 tons of waste was gathered by volunteers donating 30 million hours in just one day.

Last year’s marathon clean-up was marked by difficult circumstances in many of the participating countries. War in Ukraine, floods in Pakistan, Taliban in Afghanistan, heavy rains in Europe and Asia left their mark on the clean-ups, but did not stop World Cleanup Day volunteers. “In spite of various challenges, people concerned about the waste crisis came to clean up the planet. This testifies not only to the seriosity of the waste problem, but also underlines the level of commitment and contribution people are willing to put into solving it,” noted Heidi Solba, President and Head of the Global Network of Let’s Do It World and World Cleanup Day.

In Ukraine, 120 000 people participated in cleanups which also took place in war zones. Pakistan, which suffered from widespread flooding and landslides, brought 15 000 to participate in cleaning up areas of South-Pakistan. Heavy rains also disturbed cleanups in many countries in the Balkans and Central Europe, but also in Costa Rica and Cameroon. Bulgaria and China were ravaged by storms just prior to the event and extremely high temperatures in Suriname and Tunisia halted the waste gatherings. “We see more frequent extreme weather events and natural disasters taking place as a result of climate change. Lives of hundreds of millions are adversely affected by this unsettling reality,” said Anneli Ohvril, the Executive Director of Let’s Do It World.

Some countries also collaborated on solving their joint waste issue. In Cyprus, both sides of the country joined forces to clean up the island. In the Netherlands, the focus was on working closely with Indonesia to solve the problem of trash export. The joint team focuses on advocacy to make sure the waste doesn’t end up in other countries—with the eventual aim of banning the export of plastic waste outside the European Union, which is already working on upgrading its waste shipment regulations.

The latest World Cleanup Day also broke national records of participants for every fifth participating country. In 45% of the countries, the number of participants was higher compared to the previous year. Between 2018 and 2022, a total of 197 countries have participated in World Cleanup Days, with 71 million participants. The only countries which have not yet participated in any of the World Cleanup Days are Belize, Liechtenstein, Solomon Islands, Eswatini, Turkmenistan and Tuvalu.

This week, from January 26-29, the delegates from the participating countries are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia for Let’s Do It World annual global conference, supported by European Regional Development Fund and Enterprise Estonia. The next World Cleanup Day is taking place 16th September 2023.

World Cleanup Day is organised by Let's Do It World, a global organisation and an accredited partner of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). World Cleanup Day as the biggest civic environmental movement in history is on the way to becoming an official United Nations designated day.