Get your gloves out: a one-day campaign to clean up the country is approaching!

ONE day to clean up an entire country? Yes, that’s right. Cleaning Finland – in one day! is a nationwide event that will see thousands of volunteers committing themselves to ridding Finland of waste in under 24 hours.

The event is part of the larger international movement Let’s Do it! that originated in Estonia in 2007. Instead of waiting for a faceless ‘them’ to clear nature and cities of waste, a group of friends decided to take matters into their own hands and came up with the concept ‘One country, One day’.

The first event took place on 3 May 2008, with hundreds of organisations and 50,000 people clearing 10,000 tons of waste from Estonia’s forests and beaches in less than five hours. The campaign has since spread worldwide and has already seen successful clean-ups in six European countries. This year it’s not only Finland’s turn: Ukraine, Moldova, Brazil and Russia are also undertaking their own clean-up projects.

“We expect 750,000 people to show up,” campaign organiser Heikki Attila enthuses. Lots of people are chipping in, with an increasing number of schools contributing manpower and companies joining the cause by donating gloves, bin bags, means of transport and the like. Even President Tarja Halonen became the Cleaning Finland – in one day! campaign’s patron on 8 March.

Cleaning Finland – in one day!
6 May (Archipelago & Lapland 18 June)

“There is no change in mentality if it’s done gradually like the ‘clean up in 90 days’ they did in the US. If you do it in one day, then the people involved can influence 2 or 300,000 others and this is when a change in awareness happens,” asserts Attila. “This is a unique chance for people to act together and enjoy the results.”

The Cleaning Finland team uses a Google maps system to effectively locate waste scattered across Finland. The quantity and nature of the waste determines the number of teams and other required equipment. All the information is compiled in one location – a file accessible from the Cleaning Finland website. Anyone can lend a hand by signing up online for the closest clean-up team in their area.

Text Tania Anderson
Illustration Bradley King