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From Saturday, September 24, 2011, eastern Europe should consider itself cleaner as a result of one of the largest voluntary movements in Romania. “Let’s Do It Romania!” or what should become “The National Cleaning-up Day,” motivated 250,000 people to become actively involved in cleaning up their country.
Launched as a response to a successful Estonian idea, “Let’s Do It 2008!”, “Let’s Do It, Romania!” had its first event last year, when 200,000 people participated. The aim was to collect as much garbage from natural areas as possible in only one day with the help of volunteers.
Long before the chosen date, a whole organizational system was build from central, regional, and departmental teams to the involvement of shareholders, the mapping of garbage and the establishment of communication networks.
In addition to the clean-up effort, “Let’s Bike It, Romania!,” an event from earlier this year, people took their bikes and went for a bit of adventure and pleasure while mapping garbage spots on GPS references system. The 250,000 volunteers marked their presence on Saturday.
Early in the morning, the teams went to their assigned spots, supplied with gloves and bags. Until 3 p.m., forests, barbecue places, and valleys – all were cleaned-up. The national campaign resulted in 350,000 garbage bags at a first count with final statistics to be given this week.
In the year of volunteering, “Let’s Do It, Romania!” brought together individuals, students and professors, employers and employees, non-profit organizations and private companies, under the same message: “Ff there’s something that bothers you, take action, be the change you want to see around!” as stated on the official web-site “Let’s Do It, Romania!”
“They explained that it is extremely difficult to mobilize Romanians. That they are not like Estonians. That the country is huge. That Romanians don’t like volunteer work. That the Romanian team has had many meetings, but results are not much. That they are kind of stuck. That was an honest discussion.
Frankly, I could see it was not easy for them. They had worked hard for a dream. We tried to figure what to do. I urged them to go mapping at least few spots and go from there. To keep trying,” remembers Rainer Nõlvak, one of the organizers of “Let’s Do It, 2008!” on the Let’s Do It, World! website, about one of the first meeting with the Romanian initiators.
Hanks to their determination, a quarter of million people at the second country clean-up proved their active support and registered another success of the campaign, nationally. The project is already catching on in different countries farther than Romania and Europe.
In 2008, different countries subscribed to the “Let’s Do It, World!” campaign:
Estonia (2008 – 50,000 volunteers),
Latvia (2008- 50,000; 2009- 110,000; 2010- 150,000),
Lithuania (2008 – 6,000; 2009 – 100,000; 2010 – 200,000),
Portugal (2010 – 110,000),
Slovenia (2010 – 275,000),
New Delhi, India (2010 – 50,000),
Kerala, India (2010 – 4,100),
Moldova (2011 – 113,000).
Further action is expected for Bangladesh, Ukraine, Brazil, Finland, Netherlands, France, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Russia, Thailand, Austria, Italy, and California. “Let’s Do It, World!” could become one of the greatest citizens’ initiatives in the world, where each of us could have a say in the cleaning-up of our environment.
However, strongly recommended would be a secondary project of “Let’s Keep it Clean!” which would very probably add sustainability to the project and double the results. Until then, let’s just hope the goal of this civic movement will be soon achieved: a world free of waste!
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-i-a/