Counting Days to World Cleanup Day 2020

About World Cleanup Day

The World Cleanup Day that we know now started back in 2008, in a small country in northern Europe, Estonia. On that day, 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just about five hours.

This was then escalated into a global movement organized by Let’s Do It World (LDIW), with countries having a leader or a group of leaders that mobilize people in their own countries for World Cleanup Day.

In 2018 for example, World Cleanup Day united 18 million people across 157 countries and territories, creating a 36- hour wave of cleanups across the globe. Similarly, World Cleanup Day 2019 managed to mobilize 21.2 million people in 180 countries.

Some Hard Facts About Waste

Picking up waste and disposing of it at the right place is a very very basic thing to do. In fact, we should be way past that. Unfortunately, many corners of the world are still covered by waste due to the sheer amount of waste, especially single-use, that humans produce.

To help you imagine the magnitude of the problem, here are some hard facts about the waste that we ever produce

Plastic bottles that end up in the oceans. Source:
  • From all the plastic ever made, only around 9% that has been recycled, 12% incinerated, and the rest 79% will be accumulated in landfills or the natural environment
  • Annually, 8 million tons of plastic finds its way into the oceans via coastal areas and rivers.
  • Almost half of the plastic that we produce is for single-use purposes. In other words, it will almost instantly become trash.
  • Most packaging plastics end up as waste the same year it is produced. Meaning that plastics have a very short life-span but took forever to be broken down.
  • More than 3.5 billion people do not have access to the most basic waste management services.
  • Cigarette butts are the most common litter picked up in the environment.
  • 6 trillion cigarette butts are produced annually and 4,5 trillion of them end up in nature
  • It takes 15 years for one cigarette butts to decompose
The most common litter picked up from the environment. Photo credit: Photo: Danny Guy/Flickr/Creative Commons License

World Cleanup Day during Pandemic: What and How

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world since February, and different countries may have different circumstances and health protocols.

If you want to participate in a cleanup event on WCD 2020, you need to check first your area of residence and whether it’s safe enough to have a gathering of people. In several developing countries, especially Indonesia, the COVID-19 situation is rather severe, and thus public gathering might not be allowed yet in the majority of places.

Individual Cleanup

Therefore, it is more advisable that you do an individual cleanup or a digital cleanup instead. In a nutshell, individual cleanup means that you can register yourself as an individual participant.

Then you can do the cleanup in your surroundings, and watch out especially for cigarette butts, as they are the most common litter. After that, you can report your progress to the WCD website so that they can compile the results of all the individual cleanups throughout the world.

Digital Cleanup

Moreover, you can also do a digital cleanup to cleanup some digital waste. What is digital waste? It’s basically any unnecessary files that take up space in our smartphones, PCs, laptops, storage cloud, servers, and other electronic gadgets.

Photo from

By deleting all those digital waste, we are not only extending the life of our gadgets but also save a huge amount of CO2. Do you know that the carbon footprint of the internet and the systems supporting our account amount to 3.7% of the global greenhouse emissions?

Some studies estimate that within a decade, the internet network will produce 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

WCUD in Indonesia

In Indonesia, before getting involved in WCD activities, make sure that you are safe first. Check whether you are in green/yellow/red/black zone through

If your area is either black/red/yellow, then please participate by becoming a cleanup volunteer at home. You can sign up here.

At home, you can help sort your waste into five to six categories, namely inorganic (metal, plastic, glass, paper), organic, and electronic waste. For a complete guide, check Waste4Change’s recyclables.

After segregating your waste into its respectful categories, do not forget to weight them in order for us to compile the results. Report about your results here.

Now, you are ready to distribute your segregated waste into the nearest waste banks or TPS 3R, or recycling companies. You can also send your inorganic waste to Waste4Change via the Send Your Waste program.

Keep It Clean

Let’s Do It World, the international movement that organized the World Cleanup Day annually has a vision of a clean, healthy, and waste-free world. Cleanups are a key to raise awareness of the global waste problem, fight ignorant people and their habit of littering, as well as mobilize all elements of society for a united effort and cause.

However, cleanups only are never enough. It is just the tip of the iceberg, the beginning of a long and tedious effort to solve the global waste problem. To keep our planet clean and waste-free, an orchestrated effort from various sectors is needed.

The ultimate goal and the key was never to make cleanups a regular and much-needed activity. It was to make cleanups no longer necessary. What we need to focus on is to reduce waste from the source, and to segregate them according to its category.


WCD Waste Facts 2020

Keep It Clean Plan WCD

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