Hope Comes in Popular Volunteer Movements

More than 50 000 volunteers came out on May 4th to participate in the big clean-up day in Estonia – organized by the civic initiative called Let’s Do It! 2008 started by Estonian tech millionaires – founder of Skype, Ahti Heinla and founder of Microlink, Rainer Nõlvak.More than 3% of Estonian population of 1.3 million were out to clean the forest, roadsides and other public areas from illegal waste. More than 40 waste management companies supported the initiative with necessary containers and garbage transportation vehicles.

Volunteers had mapped over 10 656 garbage dumping sites all over the country by the beginning of April. Yesterday 207 temporary collecting stations were put up to gather the waste collected by the volunteers. From there the garbage is moved into 17 waste management stations. The initiative aims to recycle up to 80% of the collected waste, making it first massive recycling project in Estonia. The usual amount of garbage recycled in Estonia is 10%, so this is eight times more than the average.

This is the biggest civic initiative since the singing revolution in Estonia. In addition to the 50 000 participants on 3rd of May, there
has been a lot of related civic action in recent weeks, influenced by the large media campaign going on all over Estonia during the last month.

6000 tons of illegal waste has already been registered to been collected during the initiative, more specific numbers are yet to come in the following weeks.

See the story in ENN