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World Cleanup Day: Global event highlights pollution

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World Cleanup Day: Global event highlights pollution

World Cleanup Day: Global event highlights pollution
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REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
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Millions of people marked World Cleanup Day on Saturday, joining what was set to be the biggest-ever single day of volunteer-based waste collection efforts.

The idea came about 10 years ago in Estonia in 2008 from an organization called Let’s Do It!, when 4% of the population came out to clean the country of illegally dumped waste.

Since then, the movement has spread across the world, and nearly 20 million people have taken part.

Reports on the numbers of volunteers who took part on Saturday indicate an estimated count of 13 million people, however, results are still being updated. Cleanups were organised in 152 countries around the world.

The largest contributors are Indonesia, Pakistan and the USA with 3.3, 3 and 1.5 million people.

Kyrgyzstan had the largest percentage of population participation rate in the cleanup, standing at 7%.

However, in reality, it was not about the numbers themselves, “what happened was supposed to happen; you can never describe real success in numbers,” said Merili Vares, Head of Partnerships for Let’s Do It! Foundation.

“The planet does not need us, we need the planet, “said Eva Truuverk, Head of the Managing Board of the Let’s Do It! Foundation. “Today, I truly believe that, as humans, we do have more hope!” she added.

11 countries all over the world were forced to postpone their cleanup activities, mainly due to weather conditions. Tropical cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes affected participating countries and regions.

The Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau, several US States, and the Dominican Republic were all significantly impacted due to the strength and paths of the storms, posing a threat to millions of people.

Once conditions are safe again, the 11 countries and territories who had to postpone their events will resume their commitment to their cleanup plans, with hundreds of thousands of people likely to increase the numbers recorded yesterday.

The event was supported by a number of global leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Presidents of Estonia, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia

Cleanup actions were also endorsed by several celebrities including Kevin Bacon and Jack Johnson,

The event in pictures:

Reuters
Volunteers from Zero Waste association weigh waste picked up from beach during World Cleanup Day in DakarReuters

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
Modou Fall, 42, head of Senegal Propre ("Clean Senegal") Association is covered with plastic cups and bags to raise awareness of the damage on the environment caused by waste as he cleans a beach during World Cleanup Day in Dakar, Senegal.REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A volunteer cleans up and removes waste from a beach during the World Cleanup Day in Marseille, France.REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
A diver from the Barracuda Club and a volunteer with the Zero Waste association shows the garbage picked up from the beach during World Cleanup Day in Dakar, Senegal.REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A volunteer cleans up and removes waste from a beach during the World Cleanup Day in Marseille, France.REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
Volunteers from the Zero Waste association weigh the waste picked up from a beach during World Cleanup Day in Dakar, Senegal.REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra