Over 30,000 people, the bulk of them schoolchildren, have registered for Saturday's World Cleanup Day (WCD), which, due to its global nature, launched Friday evening and continues to late Saturday night.
The WCD control center is in Tallinn – WCD's roots were as "Teeme ära", a local initiative which started over a decade ago. This year sees extra considerations due to the pandemic, so organizers both urge participants worldwide to both take not of coronavirus regulations in their jurisdiction, and also consider taking part individually, or in a delayed clean-up day later next week, or even the week after, or even engage in a "digital cleanup" on their home computer. The latter does not just benefit the user but has an environmental aspect too – cleaning up hard drives etc. can prolong electronic equipment lifespans, thus cutting down indirectly on carbon emissions and other pollution areas.
The 30,000 people are nearly double the figure registered earlier in the week. Experience shows that many people turn up to take part in WCD – whose participants include Prime Minister Jüri Ratas – without registering, organizers say, meaning actual numbers are likely to be higher even with the pandemic.
Around 10,000 or more people had already taken part in WCD in Estonia by lunchtime Saturday.
Other firsts for WCD include cooperation with basketball teams and organizations, and with churches and other religious organizations.
"In collaboration with the Estonian Basketball Association, basketball courts and their surroundings will be tidied up. and a Guinness record attempted in free throws. In total, we will be hitting the basket with a ball as many as 100,000 times in Estonia today," organizer Mart Normet said.
In addition, an extraordinary prayer event and cleanup action will be held at several churches and congregations across Estonia on Saturday, Normet said, noting this tailor-made approach could suit all tpes of comers.
Kerli Laur, head of the environmental campaign of the action in Estonia, said she was pleased that almost all of the country's municipalities were represented at WCD this year.
The bulk of schools partaking are from Harju, Pärnu, Lääne-Viru and Valga counties, with over half their schools taking part; 10 percent participation for a school ensures entry into a raffle whose first prize is a private concert by the musicians NOEP, Ariadne and Pluuto, or for kindergartens, somebody called Adriane.
WCD's nerve center is in Tallinn's Vabaduse väljak this year and will carry an English-language social media newscast on the hour each hour.
Did you notice all these disposable masks? On the sidewalk, by the river, on the beach? I thought: This can't be good for the environment, can it? #WorldCleanupDay #WorldCleanupDay2020— Lara Wiedeking (@_LaraKing_) September 19, 2020
Aired last night on ZDF:https://t.co/e2EPWgT09v
"We chose the premises of the city of Tallinn as the seat of our headquarters in order to be in the center of the city, close to the people. Tallinn is running for the title of European Green Capital 2022, which is very important to us," Heidi Solba, WCD president said.
"It would be a big victory for the capital city, Estonia, and the entire region. The green turnaround would get new momentum."
The other main focus for 2020 is, as reported already, on cigarette butts – with the goal being to collect a billion of these notable pollutants worldwide.
"It's too early to say now whether we can hit that number today, but we will keep collecting as long as the number has been achieved," Ingrid Nielsen, WCD global press spokesperson, said Saturday.
Another 2020-specific target refuse for WCD is disposable face masks, with users often taking the term to its ultimate degree and simply disposing of them in the street.
Last year's WCD covered180 countries, with 21.2 million participants.
Editor: Andrew Whyte