Preparations begin for annual nationwide cleanup day

Cleanup project in Sõmera village, Saaremaa. (teemeara.ee)
3/18/2016 2:23 PM
Category: News

All across the country, preparations for Estonia's annual nationwide Let’s Do It community cleanup day, which will be taking place on May 7, kicked off yesterday.

The cleanup day, called “Teeme Ära” in Estonian, saw the official launch of the project’s planning stages at an event at the Tallinn Seaplane Harbour yesterday, as one of the initiative’s key themes this year, in conjunction with the country’s 2016 Year of Maritime Culture, is water safety.

The opening event included overviews of cleanup and community improvement projects associated with the Year of Maritime Culture, general preparations for the massive cleanup day, the “starter packs” to be distributed to volunteers, as well as the first of this year’s projects already registered in the initiative’s national database. Attendees also had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with volunteer rescuers’ marine rescue equipment as well as meet rescue dogs.

According to Tarmo Tüür, board member at the Estonian Fund for Nature, the cleanup day will once again follow the format of each community being able to decide for themselves what projects to tackle together.

“The annual cleanup day has become an important and anticipated event across Estonia, without which people can no longer imagine the arrival of spring,” Tüür said. “As such, you could say that the volunteers are sort of harbingers of spring, but they are more than that.” He considered cleanup volunteers to be the ones to “wake up” their communities, and the driving force behind new initiatives, both in cities and the countryside. “This allows for us, in the context of the cleanup day, to focus more attention every year on issues that help increase people’s standard of living and safety in society,” he added.

Support for volunteers

Those communities who choose to focus one of their projects on water safety this year and construct and install a wooden water safety stand at the edge of their local swimming spot will be donated a life preserver, lifeline, and board with safety instructions by Let’s Do It; these donations will be made possible by financial support from the Ministry of the Interior and in conjunction with the national Rescue Board and rescue volunteers.

Cleanup and community improvement projects registered in the project’s national database will also once again be receiving special cleanup day starter packs, which will include practical items and advice for the organization of such projects.

This year’s starter packs, which will begin to be distributed in early April, include first aid supplies, work gloves, a smoke detector, a roll of trash bags, some candy and soup, tea, a backpack, a seed ball, a coupon for a home and garden store, a Year of Maritime Culture badge, “Talguhunt” volunteer wolf logo stickers, a volunteer newsletter, project advertisements, instructions for building a water safety stand, safety and emergency guides, as well as tips for organizing a cleanup project.

Volunteers in Estonia are encouraged to organize cleanup and improvement projects and register them in the initiative’s national database (link in Estonian).

From a nationwide project to a worldwide movement

Let’s Do It (“Teeme Ära”), initially organized as a one-off nationwide project in Estonia in 2008 that involved nearly 50,000 volunteers cleaning up a total of almost 10,000 tons of waste across the country, achieved international popularity in subsequent years, inspiring sister projects in other countries across the globe. According to Let’s Do It statistics, by the end of 2011, more than 2.5 million volunteers across 16 countries had participated in related cleanup actions around the globe.

In addition to annual projects in various countries, Let’s Do It! World is organizing a World Cleanup Day for 2018, the goal of which is to engage 150 countries and 5% of the population, or approximately 380 million volunteers, in a massive one-day worldwide cleanup project.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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