Of course, it is fantastic that such movement grows global and that those countries that are facing the real problem of trash in parts of Africa and Asia are joining in. With them on board (let's hope- not only picking up litter, but also waving flags of protest that would say "no more foreign trash") we could get a step ahead with today's garbage issues.
But is it really people of Cote d'Ivoire, India, China and Guatemala that are supposed to clean up their countries from most of the global garbage? I would say that they shouldn't have the global garbage in their territory in the first place! Maybe, when they say- Enough!- Western world will suddenly realize that it's time to change the whole idea and framework of production (read. designed to dump) to more sustainable. When West will have to deal with its own trash they've thrown away, they would finally realize, there's no such place as "away".
Of course, not all countries ship their rubbish somewhere else , but I wouldn't say that by not doing so they have found out the way how to rid themselves from illegal trash. Take Latvia for example. The Economist has said: "Estonia has a tradition of volunteer efforts aimed at cleaning up the blight of illegal rubbish dumping in public spaces (part of a legacy of environmental abuse during the Soviet occupation era)" . I suppose, we're very similar with Estonians. But if we are so concerned about illegal rubbish dumping in public spaces, why do we still need the movement to clean our country? That means- somebody is still dumping the trash, and that somebody is no one else but us. Well, maybe not me, not you, but people living among us. And even if they come out once a year to clean it up, it's not enough.
In Latvia we've had advertisements of Cūkmens (In Latvian people who trash may be called pigs, so Cūkmens=Pigman was an image of anyone littering in public) and how bad it is for the nature, how ugly it is. We have advertisements on how much waste and rubbish is thrown into our Baltic sea. On the one hand- it's fantastic that we finally talk about these problems, explain on TV, radio, internet, newspapers how damaging it is for environment, for ourselves. On the other hand- it just makes me so sad that we are in need of it.
It should come naturally to everyone that if you see a packaging paper, bottle or anything that does not belong in the forest, river, meadow, roadside etc. - you pick it up and take it to the proper place. I do that almost everyday when walking with my little one! Why can't you do it?
Some say- it's not mine. So what it is not your ice cream wrapper? It's your environment and your nature. Do you like it littered? I don't, so I pick it up. And I am not afraid to tell others to do it. And to tell them to pick up whatever they've just thrown on the ground. Maybe they'll remember next time and tell someone else too.
I do love those two new terms I learned from the Economist-
- Garbology- is a word popularised (and possibly coined) by A.J.Weberman, a writer and activist whose credo was "you are what you throw away". / the Economist /
- Glocally- dealing with big global problems through myriad small or individual actions.
These are truly inspiring and I think of acting "glocally" as the best solution to environmental issues. Don't wait for politicians, corporations and "big guys" to act, start with yourself!
And to finish on a positive note- I am happy for World Cleanup 2012, I'm joining in every day, I hope you will too. We might not be able to rid the planet from all the trash yet, but hey- Let's make this world clean from illegal garbage!