Changes for a clean environment: the importance of World Cleanup Day 
September 22, 2023

Changes for a clean environment: the importance of World Cleanup Day 

Author: Sofiia Korol

Environmental pollution has become one of the biggest problems of our time. Plastic bottles, paper wrappers, electronic waste – all these forms of waste become an invisible burden that rests on the shoulders of our planet. They pollute water sources, toxic substances enter the soil, and the air becomes less and less clean. Not only nature suffers from this, but also we, the people, as an integral part of this nature.

World Cleanup Day, organised by the environmental initiative ‘Let’s do it’, is a day when the world unites for a great common cause – the preservation of the environment. Today, more than ever before, it is important to remember that our planet is a common home for all living things, and we all have a responsibility to preserve its resources and beauty.

While the russian occupiers are trying to take away our independence and sovereignty, and destroy our heritage and nature, Ukrainians continue to defend their state, each on their front. Among others, citizens join forces to defend the environment.

On the third Saturday of September, under the slogan “Let the sky be peaceful and Ukraine clean!”, and in compliance with wartime and security restrictions, Ukraine joined World Cleanup Day together with millions of participants in 191 countries of the world.

Since the topic of environmental sustainability and awareness is one of the priorities for Ukrainian Young European Ambassadors, this year representatives of the initiative joined the World Cleanup Day events in Lviv, Kyiv, and Irpin. They also held a workshop on “Ecology and changes: what can I do and what can the EU?” for students of the Cherkasy Commercial College, as well as a master class on creating eco-bags at the Cherkasy Regional Youth Resource Centre.

World Cleanup Day is not only about collecting garbage and separating it into waste. This global initiative has a deep meaning and a higher purpose, which plays an important role in shaping our environmental consciousness and changing attitudes towards the environment.

Let’s look at the goal of the cleanup day from two different aspects: to involve millions of people in joint actions to clean up garbage, and to be aware of garbage pollution and its consequences.

First, World Cleanup Day is a powerful platform for bringing people together. Millions of volunteers, regardless of age, gender, or social status, go out into the streets, parks, and beaches to take part in the common task of cleaning up garbage left in nature. This collective action shows that the environment comes first for many people. Such a joining of forces points to our ability to change the world together, fostering mutual understanding and a sense of global community. Engaging such a large number of participants has an inspiring effect that extends far beyond today, influencing people’s thinking and actions in the future. The goal is to reach 5% of the world’s population, approximately 380 million people.

Secondly, it is equally important to be aware of the problem of garbage pollution and its consequences. Cleanup Day reminds us that our consumption comes at a heavy price for nature. Plastic products that are convenient to use have a long journey, turning into harmful waste. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in our oceans each year. To put this in perspective, there is enough trash to cover every foot of shoreline around the world with five full garbage bags of plastic. 

Garbage negatively affects biodiversity, human health and ecosystems in general. Constant postponement of this problem leads to a threat to the ecological sustainability of our planet. Through cleaning, we see the directions of negative impact and learn to understand how our actions affect nature. This paves the way for the implementation of changes in our consumer approach, aimed at reducing waste and transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Due to its global nature, the project unites different groups of people and organisations in joint efforts to preserve the environment. Civil society organisations, non-profit foundations and environmental groups play an important role in coordinating this movement. They organise a variety of events, from lectures and seminars to large-scale beach, park and street clean-ups. These organisations act as mobilisers, encouraging citizens to join the cleanup and popularising the importance of environmental awareness.

In addition to public organisations, more and more companies are joining the project, showing that corporate responsibility can have a positive impact on the environment. Many organisations involve their employees in volunteer cleanups and provide financial and organisational support for local events.

World Cleanup Day thus plays an important role in creating environmental awareness, especially among children and young people. Their involvement creates an opportunity to teach future generations to care for the environment.

World Cleanup Day calls children and young people to active participation. This helps to make them aware of the problem of garbage and its impact on the environment. Young people get the opportunity to see first-hand how their actions can make a difference in the environment, and this encourages them to be more responsible consumers. It teaches them to realise that every decision and action can affect the state of the environment.

Second, the importance of preserving the environment for future generations becomes a topical issue in the context of climate change and environmental challenges. World Cleanup Day teaches children and young people that their actions affect the state of the planet and the wellbeing of future generations. They learn to see the big picture and understand that everyone’s small contribution can play an important role in creating a sustainable future. This consciousness opens up new horizons for their thinking and actions.

World Cleanup Day is a vivid example of how the global community can unite to achieve one important goal – the preservation of nature and the environment. It shows our ability to act together and take a responsible attitude to the problems of pollution.

The importance of World Cleanup Day lies not only in cleaning the nature of garbage but also in influencing our consciousness. It reminds us that every participation and every contribution matters. Such actions help to improve the relationship between people and the environment, strengthening our connection with the planet.

By participating in World Cleanup Day, we confirm that we have responsibility for the environment and nature. This is proof of our readiness to change the world for the better through concrete actions. Every chosen step towards a clean and healthy planet significantly impacts the future.

Thus, World  Cleanup Day provides an opportunity not only to remove garbage from nature but also to make an important contribution to the development of a conscious ecological culture. It raises our awareness of the importance of preserving the environment and proves that our joint action can change the world for the better. By initiating positive changes in ourselves and our environment, we take steps towards creating a sustainable and harmonious future for us all.

Interested in the latest news and opportunities?

This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a GOPA PACE-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.

The information on this site is subject to a Disclaimer and Protection of personal data. © European Union,