Philippines Aims to Hold the Worlds Biggest Waste Clean-Up this Week

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Civic activists in the Philippines have been mobilizing the whole country for a nationwide waste clean-up with the aim to involve 5 million people to get rid of illegal trash and raise awareness about waste pollution. The clean-up takes place on the 20th of September and the organizers found inspiration from the international civic movement Lets Do It! that started in Estonia in 2008 when 50,000 people (4% of the population) cleaned up an entire country in just one day.

We have seen in our previous regular clean-ups in remote islands that communities just dispose of trash into the ocean and realized, that there is the need for a stronger measure, which would invest in education and better discipline, commented Dann Diez, the leader of Lets Do It! Philippines and founder of SEED4COM (Sustainable Energy and Enterprise Development for Communities) which is coordinating the action.

Diez explained, that as the Philippines has about 100 million inhabitants, 5 million participants would make approximately 5% of the population of the country, which is the estimated amount to deliver a lasting change in peoples behavior.

The whole campaign has been built on networking the team has been training local leaders, meeting decision makers, organized forums and seminars, etc. since the end of 2014. Diez emphasizes, that what makes the campaign special, is also the fact that none of the collected waste will be landfilled everything will be recycled or reused.

SEED4COM and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have signed a mutual memorandum of understanding stating that every third Saturday of September will be celebrated as the national clean-up day in the years to come.

What started as a dream of a small group of friends has now spread to the ears and eyes of decision makers for example the League of Cities of the Philippines that unites local government leaders has joined the action, so have various other organizations in the country, Diez explained. Philippines National Youth Commission, International Coastal Cleanup Philippines, Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, AIESEC, JCI are just some of the many which have agreed to participate in a clean-up day together with their members and contacts.

This first national clean-up day in the Philippines is just a big leap in society in general. We want to reach a level of awareness among our people, so that they would want to be a part of a solution and take action, not just blame, point fingers and talk about who should be cleaning up the litter, Diez said. In his opinion, such a massive action is a way to manifest that Filipinos care for the environment and about their own country.

According to Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, the Director of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the health of the countrys waterways need protection.

We all have a huge responsibility to ensure that our waterways remain healthy. The DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) cannot do it alone. We believe in forging partnerships with various sectors the private sector, academics, local government units, civil society to help change how Filipinos view their waste. Segregation at source is still the most practical step towards ensuring that our waste would not end up in our rivers and creeks, he said.

The international civic-led action Lets Do It! aims to solve the illegal dumping problem on a local and global level both short- and long-term by engaging a large part of society in the cleanup activity on an action day, raising issues related to illegal dumping and engaging both experts, political and local leaders to find more sustainable systemic solutions. The movement began in Estonia in 2008 when 50 000 people came together and cleaned up their entire country in five hours, removing 10 000 tonnes of waste. Today, Lets Do It! is a global network of 112 countries, having engaged 13,5 million participants.

The countries participating in Lets Do It! actionscan be seen here:www.letsdoitworld.org/countriesandupcoming clean-up dates can be seen here:www.letsdoitworld.org/cleanup_dates_2015.Photos of various clean-up actions around the world can be found here:mediabank.letsdoitworld.org

Lets Do It! World Cleanup 2015 issupported bybytheEstonian Ministry of Foreign Affairsfrom theDevelopment Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid fund,the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, the Open Estonia Foundation, Skype, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, QlikView, Tallink Group, DHL Estonia, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Estonian Air, Interlex Translations, Meedius Estonia, Sendsmaily and EuroPark Estonia.

More information:
Meelika Hirmo
Lets Do It! World Cleanup 2015
Head of Public Relations & Communication
Phone: +372 504 1258
E-mail: [emailprotected]
Webpage: www.letsdoitworld.org
Facebook: facebook.com/letsdoitworld
Twitter: twitter.com/letsdoitworld
Youtube: youtube.com/letsdoitworld

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