World Cleanup Day grew out of a spontaneous national initiative in Estonia, Europe, in 2008 when 4% of the country’s population came together to clean up the entire country in just five hours.The cleanup was carried out by volunteers and saved the Estonian government millions of euros.The success of the Estonian cleanup spread across the world and now 150 countries organise cleanups based on the same model.“The idea to cleanup the whole world in one day is an ambitious goal that can only be achieved through comprehensive cooperation,” says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).
“On 15 September, all these countries, volunteers and partners will come together to rid the world of litter and clean up mismanaged waste. Let us in South Africa also be a significant part of this powerful ‘green wave’ of cleanups that will start in New Zealand and end in Hawaii 36 hours later with millions of people working towards one goal: a cleaner world,” says Penfold.Let’s aim to mobilise South Africa to raise awareness and implement lasting changes to achieve a cleaner and healthier planet for all, starting at our local work places in the chemical and allied industries.
After that, we cannot just forget about the initiative, says Penfold. Rather, we should ponder the following questions:
- What can we do after World Cleanup Day?
- How can we ensure that we keep our country and the planet clean?
- What should be done with litter once collected?
- What are the next most important steps?
We in the chemical and allied industries must give this serious thought. As an industry and members of the Responsible Care® initiative we have to answer to that responsibility, says Penfold.