BANGKOK – A campaign to tackle waste rallied tens of thousands in Southeast Asia as people flocked to beaches and other sites on Saturday to collect trash on occasion of World Cleanup Day.
Events to mark the social action kicked off on Pacific islands and will subsequently spread across the globe.
Volunteers collected garbage in cities including the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, Indonesia’s Banda Aceh and the Philippine island of Boracay as part of an international campaign launched by Let’s Do It World, an NGO that aims to raise awareness of pollution.
At least 3,700 bin liners containing 187,000 kg of trash have been collected on Manila’s Baseco beach by 15,000 volunteers, Manila Public Information Office said on Twitter.
Pollution, mainly due to plastic, is a severe problem in countries like Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, which are among the countries which dispose of most plastic waste which ends up in oceans and seas.
China and India are also high on the list.
Volunteers, authorities and companies from nearly 160 countries are involved in World Cleanup Day activities, Let’s Do It World said in a statement.
Last year, 18 million volunteers took part in the event.
Chairperson of the NGO Heidi Solba said the organization was hopeful that this year more volunteers would be drawn to the initiative.
“We are just moved to tears by the overwhelmingly HUGE volume of @WorldCleanupDay reports!!!
“There are so many that our team litter-ally can’t keep up, so we apologize if the only thing we can post (for now) is a or if we miss your report. But we see you & love your heroism!” the organization tweeted.
The campaign came a day after millions of young people took part in a global climate strike across over 150 countries demanding the climate crisis to be tackled more firmly.
World Cleanup Day first appeared in Estonia in 2008, where around 50,000 people took part in a nationwide cleanup that lasted five hours.
Since then, the initiative has grown and expanded around the world.