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Cyber-activists launch 80-nation campaign against illegal trash dumps

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, March 23, 2012 20:04 EDT
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Illegal trash dump in Greece via AFP
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TALLINN — Cyber-environmentalists said Friday 80 countries have joined the World Cleanup 2012 campaign which will see volunteers across the globe use the Internet to target illegal trash dumps for cleanup.

Portugal and Slovenia kick off the unprecedented six-month-long global anti-dumping campaign on Saturday, with Tunisia joining in Sunday.

“The aim of the action is 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,” Tiina Urm, World Cleanup 2012 spokeswoman told AFP on Friday.

Urm added that the broad grassroots focus on illegal dumping was also aimed at “engaging experts, political and local leaders to find more sustainable systemic solutions.”

The campaign started in 2008 in Estonia, where organisers created special software to map and photograph 11,000 illegal garbage dumps across the Nordic nation of 1.3 million people.

In what proved to be an unprecedented success, over 50,000 volunteers collected 10,000 tonnes of illegal garbage from roadsides, forests and towns in just five hours.

Organisers decided to go global after the campaign spread like wildfire to 15 more countries including India, Slovenia, Serbia, Finland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Cambodia, Russia, Hungary and Brazil.

“Everyone eager to join can get the list and timetable of the countries attending the action from our homepage: www.letsdoitworld.org/countries”, Urm told AFP.

Portuguese organisers are expecting to draw 100,000 volunteers Saturday, but complain support from local authorities has been more difficult to muster this year due to economic hard times.

“This time around, getting the support of the local municipalities, has been more difficult. It’s clear that they simply have much less resources at hand to help us,” Carlos Evaristo, an activist from Portugal said in a press release.

Evaristo is one of more than 100 national and local coordinating volunteers who have worked for six months to plan this unprecedented global clean-up.

Slovenians will also be sweeping up for a second time around. They are the current world record holders of the movement, having drawn a whopping 14 percent of the country’s two million citizens into the action in 2010.

This year they are hoping for a quarter million people to pitch in.

Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

Photo AFP/File, Alkis Konstantinidis

Agence France-Presse
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