World Cleanup Day 2023 engages 19 M people in 91% of countries

Written by
Jim Sharman
October 26, 2023

Over 91% of the world’s countries engaged 19.1 million volunteers from around the globe for this year’s World Cleanup Day, the flagship event organized by the Estonia-born global environment action movement NGO ‘Let’s Do It World’ (LDIW) which took place on Saturday, 16 September.

A staggering 205,000 tons of trash were collected, equal to 1,250 blue whales, or 512 jumbo jets, emphasizing the scale of the global mismanaged crisis and the urgent need for sustainable solutions.

Significantly, World Cleanup Day 2023’s results saw the emergence of two notable increasing global trends; participation by young people and students, as well as from local and national government ministers and officials. These trends, and the year’s remarkable outcomes, were commented on by LDIW President & Head of Global Network, Heidi Solba.

“It is so encouraging to see more and more young people understanding the urgency facing us all. Yet, no matter how many volunteers we engage, we still see more and more trash polluting our environment. This impacts upon everyone. We are not a cleanup organization – we are an awareness-raising one – and the message sent by our incredible global network and partners is clear. This year, more than ever, we urge every government, every large corporation, every organization to take these results seriously and act to implement permanent, lasting solutions to the global mismanaged waste crisis. Today is a celebration of the tireless commitment of tens of millions who contributed to the massive progress we are making together”, declared Solba.

This year’s campaign occurred just prior to the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) debate on the resolution to add World Cleanup Day to the UN Calendar. The proposition received unanimous support earlier this year to be included in the UNGA agenda and a decision on formal proclamation is imminent.

2023’s results mark a return to pre-Covid engagement levels, the best turnout in four years, just short of a record high. This serves as an encouraging sign that LDIW’s message of the need for lasting societal change is being embraced by both the general population and, crucially, policy makers, as the world faces up to the triple planetary crisis of climate, waste pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Updated overall results also reveal that, since the first World Cleanup Day in 2018, the LDIW movement has spread in both depth and width – reaching 95% of all countries listed by the United Nations and engaging nearly 91 million participants – thus elevating overall engagement beyond the 1.1% mark in terms of global population. LDIW targets 5%, the tipping point needed for societal behavioral change.

The combined results further consolidate LDIW’s position as the world’s largest peacetime civic action movement in human history, with an ever-growing active network that includes almost every nation.

Addition to the UN Calendar would certainly magnify focus and boost participation towards LDIW’s goal of 5% global engagement, as the movement continues to address the global mismanaged waste crisis and strive for a waste-free world.

Coverage of this year’s campaign was broadcast live on 16 September from Estonian House in New York City, thanks to support from the Estonian government. LDIW also hosted an UNGA-related side-event on 20 September, where Estonian President, H.E. Alar Karis, opened proceedings with a direct call to action for UNGA representatives to back the resolution to add World Cleanup Day to the UN Calendar.

Karis declared, “World Cleanup Day serves as a platform for advocacy and policies related to waste management and environmental education, encouraging governments to prioritize waste management strategies and sustainable practices. My hope is that this event inspires all to take further action, share best practices and promote a cleaner and more liveable planet.”

Let’s Do It World NGO is an accredited member of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). In July 2023, the UN Sustainable Development Goals Group acknowledged Let’s Do It World with its Mobilization award for organizing World Cleanup Day.

World Cleanup Day declares 2023 results: 19M people from 91% of world countries! Read our Press Release here.
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