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World CleanUp Day 2018: 13 million people get together to clean up garbage

Posted on 02 October 2018.

World CleanUp Day" took place for the first time on September 15, 2018 – a day dedicated to cleaning up the garbage in our rivers, beaches, forests and streets – and mobilized millions of people in over 150 countries, including France.

On Saturday, September 15, 2018, nearly 13 million people around the world rolled up their sleeves to pick up the litter in our environment. It was launched by World CleanUp Day the organization. New in France, it arose out of the Let's Do It! movement which began ten years ago in Estonia. In 2018, it went global mobilizing people in 156 countries. A Herculean task. For example in France alone,81,000 metric tons of litter end up in the countryside every year.


200,000 people and 3,000 local operations in France

3,000 pickup operations were organized all over France. Schools, businesses, associations, local authorities, individuals... In total 200,000 people got to work cleaning up our roadsides, paths, green spaces, countryside, beaches, harbors and rivers.

In Vannes for example, a team of volunteer divers spent over three hours in the harbor water - and the silt - removing all kinds of waste. In the depths, they found barriers and cones, street furniture, and even a scooter and some rusty old bikes.

Hauts-de-France was one of the most active regions, said Julien Pilette, President of World CleanUp Day in France. For example, 400 operations were organized in the region with at least 35,000 volunteers. Armed with garbage bags, the volunteers found cigarette butts, drink cans, plastic bottles and old car parts in alarming quantities.

Fix the problem at the source

For the time being, the exact volume of waste France collected is not yet known. We have to await the forum planned by the association on November 19 to discover the results of the cleanup. Given the number of people who got involved, we can be sure a lot was achieved. The approach caught people’s imagination and the hope is that more and more people will realize how urgent it is to protect our world and fight pollution caused by garbage.