The Power of Cleaning Up | World Clean-Up Day
World Clean Up Day, Picking Up Trash, Cleaning our Oceans, Sustainable Events in SeptemberWritten by Micaela Sauve
Plastic touches all our lives, from food packaging to phones to cars.
But many of the plastics you touch in your daily life are used only once or for a short period of time then get thrown away.
Globally, humans produce 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that not being managed in an environmentally safe manner .
While our goal here at Net Zero Co. is to eliminate the use of single use plastics, it would be naive to presume that we can completely eradicate this plastic epidemic entirely.
World Clean-Up Day is a global event that takes place on September 18th every year bringing millions of people from over 180 countries together to clean the Earth.
The now globally-participated event originated in a small country in Northern Europe, Estonia. In 2008, 50,000 people united to clean up the country in under 5 hours. This became a loud message to the world saying that the rest of us too, can pick up trash and make our home countries a cleaner place.
This year, a global clean-up is more important than ever! COVID-19 triggered a major shift in consumer behaviour, with many turning to online shopping and stores refusing the use of reusables.
Thousands who don’t typically leave the city flocked to our natural environments during lockdown and an unprecedented amount of rubbish has been left behind during these outings.
Whether it’s as simple as picking up small amounts of trash or even organizing your own beach clean-up, it’s important to understand that the smallest differences can make a huge impact in our health, wildlife, and planet.
What We Throw Away Affects Us Back
It is assumed that most rubbish pollution is coming from big companies that appear to have little or no concern for our environment. So, why should it be us that have to take the time to clean up our planet.
If this is a concern of yours, we hear you. However, the answer to that question is in the question itself. This planet is OUR planet; it’s OUR home and will be the home to OUR future generation.
Yes, the commercial fishing polluters need to be stopped and we encourage you to take part where you can, but that will take time and we need to act now.
Once trash enters natural environments, it starts to incorporate itself in the food chain. Which will not only diminish our planet’s health and the health of our wildlife, but will start to diminish human health too.
Whether microplastics are entering the human body via direct exposure through ingestion or inhalation, or through indirect exposure, they can lead to an array of health impacts including inflammation, genotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and necrosis, which are linked to an array of negative health outcomes including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and the list goes on .
OUR health is on the line.
If you want to stop plastic pollution at the source, we put together a special collection to help replace the top 10 plastic products that end up in our oceans.
Save Our Oceans By Picking Up Small Trash
Beach clean-ups are more than just about creating a coast that is aesthetically pleasing. So much plastic is ending up in the ocean that in just a few years, we might end up with a pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish in the sea.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that about 635,029 tonnes of trash finds its way into the ocean each year  — that’s equivalent to 1.55 million garbage trucks.
Marine animals (Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, etc.) can become entangled in or ingest plastic debris potentially causing suffocation, illness, starvation, and drowning. Marine plastic pollution has already impacted at least 267 species worldwide .
But, the future of plastics in our ocean is determined by the way we handle plastics on land. Think of the beach as a bridge between the land and marine environment. It is a critical biodiversity area. Consequently, cleaning our beaches is a step towards cleaning our oceans.
How To Plan a Clean-Up?
You don’t need to wait for a local beach clean-up so that you can start cleaning your local environment. You can clean up by yourself, with some close friends or organize one yourself.
All you need is some planning and a group of volunteers as passionate as you are in getting rid of the rubbish. Just remember to do these basic steps:
- Choose a natural environment in need of a clean up
- Create an ideal schedule
- Get permission from local authorities (not always required)
- Find volunteers
- Plan out your logistics, materials recovery, and segregation plan
The act of picking up small trash has a greater underlying value that is key to keeping our Earth clean. It reminds those who witness - the realities we face during the climate crisis today and the actions we collectively need to take.
Cleaning up is a sign, a message, a reality-check reminding us that restoring the planet’s health is more important than ever.
We ask you, Net Zero Fam, to join us and clean our Earth together!
- CIEL, "Plastic and Human Health: A Lifecycle Approach to Plastic Pollution | Center for International Environmental Law", Center for International Environmental Law, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.ciel.org/project-update/plastic-and-human-health-a-lifecycle-approach-to-plastic-pollution/.
- C. Awuchi and C. Awuchi, "Impacts of Plastic Pollution on the Sustainability of Seafood Value Chain and Human Health", International Journal of Advanced Academic Research, vol. 5, no. 11, 2019. Available: https://www.ijaar.org/articles/Volume5-Number11/Sciences-Technology-Engineering/ijaar-ste-v5n11-nov19-p1.pdf.
S. Kaza, L. Yao, P. Bhada-Tata and F. Van Woerden, "What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050", 2018. Available: https://doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-1329-0
- "Ocean pollution | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration", National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/ocean-coasts/ocean-pollution.