di Giulia Basilici
After the success of 2014, the second edition of Let’s Clean Up Europe (LCUE), the big European campaign against littering, took place all over Europe and beyond. Also in 2015, more than 3,000 clean-up actions were registered and involved an estimation of almost 300,000 participants; most actions were implemented from 8 to 10 May 2015, with the opportunity of an extended implementation period from 3 to 17 May 2015 to encourage wider participation.
During those days, you may have seen representatives of public authorities, businesses, associations, educational establishments and groups of citizens, all well equipped with gloves and bags, picking up litter in open spaces. Actions were all registered by volunteers both to literally “clean up Europe” – removing litter which ends up in oceans, beaches, forests and elsewhere in nature – and to raise awareness on the problem of littering on a larger scale.
Every year, in fact, millions of tonnes of litter end up in the environment. The primary causes are our societies’ unsustainable production and consumption patterns, poor waste management strategies and the lack of awareness of the population. In order to give visibility to the issue and to encourage to take action on waste prevention, the Life+ project European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) coordinates, since 2014, a Europe-wide annual clean-up day. The aim of this campaign is not only to clean rivers, parks or beaches from litter – and therefore to prevent major environmental damages – but also to call on concrete action introducing waste prevention and reduction in our daily lives: the best waste is the one which is not produced!
The great efforts taken by coordinators of the campaign have given important results: actions have been implemented in, among others: Austria, Andorra, Brussels Capital Region, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Czech Republic, England, Flanders, France, Greece, Comunitat Valenciana, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey and Wales. This year, also Tunisia joined Let’s Clean Up Europe with its first action: an intense clean-up that saw the participation of a Primary School class in Degache.
National or regional coordinators act as a contact point for anyone interested in organizing a LCUE clean-up action and provide volunteers with support, communication material and the famous LCUE flags which wave during the actions.
Let’s Clean Up Europe 2015 has been very “social”: pictures and videos of LCUE actions can be found online on Facebook (Let’s Clean Up Europe – Official) and Twitter (@LetsCleanUpEU) or following the hashtag #cleanupeurope!
For additional information:
LCUE Secretariat – AICA, International Association for Environmental Communication
Giulia Basilici firstname.lastname@example.org
EWWR Technical Secretariat