About World Cleanup Day
Welcome to LDIW’s Annual Reports and other relevant information, serving as a journey through our milestones and impact over the past years.
Here we unveil the results of years of dedication, innovation, and progress, represented by key facts and figures.
Since 2018, World Cleanup Day has become the biggest peacetime civic movement in human history, uniting 197 countries and territories across the world, and over 71 million volunteers, all striving to create a cleaner planet.
It’s a unifying movement that transcends borders, cultural differences, and even conflicts.
On one single day each year, volunteers and partners worldwide come together, to raise awareness of the global mismanaged waste crisis.
Even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges (climate disasters, wars, etc.), we clean up litter and waste from our beaches, rivers, lakes, forests, streets, parks…everywhere!
Here are the key outcomes from each World Cleanup Day:15 September 2018: 18.0 million people in 157 countries and territories.
21 September 2019: 21.2 million people in 180 countries and territories.
9 September 2020: 8.9 million people in 166 countries and territories.
18 September 2021: 8.6 million people in 191 countries and territories.
17 September 2022: 14.8 million people in 190 countries and territories.
World Cleanup Day harnesses the power of people around the world to achieve incredible things by joining together.
Its beauty lies in cooperation and collaboration: building bridges between otherwise disparate communities – and including all levels and sectors of society – from citizens to businesses, to governments.
In 2018, over 18 million environmental heroes joined to create an epic 36-hour green wave of cleanups across all the globe’s time zones – beginning in Fiji and traveling around the world before ending in American Samoa.
The number increased to 21.2 million in 2019 – and millions still turned out in 2020 and 2021, despite the prevalent Covid restrictions.
Even climate disasters in places like South East Asia, or wars and conflicts in nations like Syria, Sudan, and more recently Ukraine, don’t stop our dedicated and committed volunteers from answering the call to clean up our environment for this and future generations.
From Humble Beginnings
This world-changing idea began in Estonia, a small nation in the northeast corner of Europe but with a massive heart. In 2008, over 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country, collecting over 10,000 tons of trash in just five hours. On that day, a global, bottom-up civic movement was born, spreading like a green wave around the globe. It captured the imaginations of people worldwide, who were inspired to follow suit with the same ambitious ‘one country, one-day’ formula.
World Cleanup Day has since grown into a global movement across almost every nation and territory on the planet, with millions of volunteers and a strong network of charismatic leaders. The simple act of cleaning has become a force that binds together people and groups that would otherwise never dream of working towards the same goal.
We’re the very definition of unity in civic society, transcending traditional barriers to cooperation and bringing together global corporations and national governments. Our movement includes every nationality, age group, gender identity, and religious affiliation. We now act as a focal point for collective intelligence, raising awareness of the challenges our environment faces.
Our Reason For Being
Nearly every human on this planet has a place they call ‘home’, be it a mansion, a street, a hut or an apartment in a metropolis. We live in villages, towns, cities, regions, countries, and continents – yet humanity only has one planet that we can call ‘home’.
When 50,000 Estonians cleaned their home country in just 5 hours, the world got wind of it – the simplicity of the idea, and the ‘Let’s do it!’ attitude, took off. The rest, as they say, is history.
Anyone can pick up trash; in 2018, a 101-year old man volunteered to clean in Curaçao. In Estonia, a group of mothers carrying their babies went out to clean. In Scotland, a dogs’ association came out with the animals to help clean the environment...
But World Cleanup Day has become so much more than the simple act of picking up trash.
Daycare centers, schools, companies, government officials – the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the able and less able – everyone contributed.
Because they could.
Because they wanted to be involved in making their home a better place.
Because they were given an opportunity to help.
Because they belong to a community.
Let’s Do It World (LDIW) is a global organization that has member organizations in almost every country and territory. World Cleanup Day (WCD) is the biggest event organized by LDIW.
Each country has a leader, or a group of leaders, who work day and night, often as volunteers, to mobilize the people in their countries for WCD.
Leaders come from all walks of life – be they strong women defying societal boundaries, environmentalists fighting for a better tomorrow, or organizations uniting concerned citizens.
Each country is affected by the mismanaged waste crisis in different ways. In some, waste is an issue managed by the government; in others, waste is something that the majority of the population is surrounded by.
Elsewhere, waste and recycling provides thousands of jobs; for some people, mismanaged waste is not such a huge issue and, in some countries, mismanaged waste becomes a matter of life and death.
Countries therefore address the issues surrounding waste that are most pressing for them. LDIW provides guidance, advice and leadership skills for anyone willing to commit time to the cause. The incredible leaders that we have are nothing short of heroes of our time.
WCD continues to engage an increasing number of people and places – over the last 5 years, it has taken place in 197 countries and territories.
Let's Do It World is an accredited partner of UNEP and UNEA.
Where's the Catch?
There isn’t one. Period.
The reality we face though is that the human race needed David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, images of birds with plastic in their stomachs, and straws up turtles’ noses to wake us up to the harm we’re inflicting upon nature with our trash habits.
The millions united by LDIW are still just a fraction of the world that cares enough to take action. These people care about the future, they see beyond our differences and strive to keep what unites us – our common home.
This is neither a dressing down of others, nor is it finger-pointing, or prophesying doom – it’s about highlighting the power of positive collaboration and the spirit of unity. Most importantly, it’s about acting in the best interests of our planet and realizing we need planet Earth with its resources more than it needs us.
We tackle the environmental challenges related to the mismanaged waste crisis by mobilizing millions of positive-minded people into coordinated local and global actions. It’s only waste when it’s wasted – most trash remains a valuable resource and should be treated as such.
Through our activities and campaigns, we aim to create a shift towards better management of our resources, inspiring people towards smarter choices in design, production, and consumption.
In essence, Let’s Do It World has never been purely about cleaning up trash – our vision is a clean and healthy waste-free world by raising global awareness and implementing lasting changes to end the global waste epidemic, once and for all.
Let’s Do It World has THREE core values:
We are open to individuals and organizations from the public sector, corporations and civil society who believe that waste does not belong in nature. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
We look for solutions, instead of pointing fingers. We focus on creating positive change and on finding solutions to “trash blindness”.
The changes happen in people and through people. Anyone can be a leader and develop as a leader. We are looking to empower a new generation of leaders that aims to create a waste-free world by working locally and cooperating globally.
If you, too, want to get involved in this global effort to make our home a cleaner place, please contact a representative in your country.Contact your representative
Prizes and awards
We, as a Let’s Do It World network, are very proud and thankful for the recognition.
, World Cleanup Day was honored with a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG
)Award for Mobilization
Let's Do It World is the winner of UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor Award 2021!
World Cleanup Day was the Finalist of Energy Globe Award 2019
Thank you UNESCO and Japan for UNESCO-Japan Education of Sustainable Development prize
in 2018 which was given for World Cleanup Day action.
Also, we are proud of the World Summit Award 2018
, for using innovative technological solutions.
Thank you also for Melissa Wells CRS award
and European Citizens’ Prize 2017
Thank you all the regional and local prizes and recognition. It means a lot for tireless leaders and volunteers working for the cleaner World and for every living being on Earth!