World Cleanup Day

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World Cleanup Day
ZSW n9UC 400x400.jpg
Date(s)19 September 2020; 20 months ago (2020-09-19)
Years active13
Participants21000000 (in 2019)
An example of the pollution that World Clean Up Day aims to clean up.

World Cleanup Day (aka WCD) is an annual global social action campaign aimed at combating the global solid waste problem and the problem of marine debris. It includes litter cleanup and waste mapping activities spanning every time zone. It is held on the 3rd Saturday of September annually in nearly every country in the World. The last World Cleanup Day was 19 September 2020, and according to the organisers 11 million participants joined the cleanup in 165 countries.[1]


World Cleanup Day was started by Let's Do It World global civic movement in 2018. It has developed around the idea of mobilising large numbers of people for one-day nation-wide cleanups to remove illegally dumped waste. The model was pioneered in Estonia on 4 May 2008 with their nation-wide cleanup called Let's do it! (in Estonian: "Teeme Ära!") engaging 50000 people or 4% of their population, cleaning up 10000 tons of waste in one day.[2] Over a decade, the movement has spread to practically all countries of the world and mobilised millions of people to participate in cleanups. From the beginning in 2007, until 2020 the movement has spread from Estonia to over 180 countries and engaged more than 21 million volunteers.

Purpose of World Cleanup Day

World Cleanup Day aims to raise awareness of the mismanaged waste crisis by mobilizing all spheres of society to participate in cleanup actions. Individuals, governments, corporations and organisations are all encouraged to take part in cleanups and to find solutions to tackle mismanaged waste. There are numerous organizations that facilitate and host World Cleanup Day events globally. Like Earth Day, World Cleanup Day is non-partisan, apolitical, and is not affiliated with any national or global political party or discrete ideology.[3]

History of World Cleanup Day

The first attempt to organise a global cleanup took place in 2012 and engaged 96 countries, but the total number of participants has not been accurately assessed. Between 2013 and 2017, the total number of participants globally has not been summarised even though national cleanups were organised in an increasing number of countries. At annual conferences, organised by the Let's Do It Foundation, the idea of coordinating a World Cleanup Day matured in 2017, and it was first launched in 2018. These conferences were a crucial driver of the global movement from 2011 to 2020, bringing together to 250 people from as many as 90 countries.

World Cleanup Day logo.

Since 2018 a new graphic design was adopted with the new name: World Cleanup Day.

Scope of World Cleanup Day

World Cleanup Day took place in 180 countries by 2020. In many of those countries, the campaign is organised in partnership and involvement of hundreds of organisations (both government and non-government), institutes, schools, universities, kindergartens etc. For the most time the movement has been spreading by a combination of the targeted efforts of the staff and volunteers from Let's Do It Foundation in Estonia and mostly scattered efforts by individuals and organisations around the world.

World Cleanup Day in numbers

Participation in World Cleanup Day over the last years was the following:

  • in 2018, 17.6 million people from 157 countries[4] Over 88500 tons of waste was collected.[5]
  • in 2019, 21.2 million people from 180 countries[4] Over 100000 tons of waste was collected.[6]
  • in 2020, 11 million people from 156 countries
  • in 2021, the campaign will take place on 18 September 2021

Links to key examples

  • Indonesian cleanup in 2018 engaging 7 million participants

External links



  1. "11 Million People Participated in World Cleanup Day". 2020-11-03. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  2. "Teeme ära 2008". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  3. "'Communities will be united': Groups around Ireland to take part in World Cleanup Day". The Journal. 09/09/2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Our Story". Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  5. "World Cleanup Day 2018 Waste Report" (PDF). 1 January 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  6. "Annual Report 2019 (page 44)" (PDF). January 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2020.