According to organizer Nederland Schoon, about 50,000 volunteers took part in the National Cleanup Day today. They went out with pick-up sticks and garbage bags to remove litter, such as plastic bags and beer and soft drink cans.
“We estimate that each volunteer collects on average a garbage bag full of waste,” director Ingrid Goethart told ANP news agency. She does not know how much has been collected. “We heard from many people that they found it difficult to pass on how much they had collected, so we stopped.”
This year, too, the harvest largely consisted of cans and cigarette butts. Goethart also mentioned poop bags for dogs. “If people don’t find a trash can quickly enough, they leave those bags on the roadside.”
During the National Cleaning Day for the first time to work with a butt sucker! #watpakjijop #landelijkeopschoondag #krimpenerwaardschoon
March 18, 2023
According to Goethart, cleaning up litter by volunteers is becoming more and more common. “It used to be the people with community service who were cleaning up. Now you see people who also pick up litter during a round of jogging or supping.”
Still, she thinks that the amount of litter will not decrease. “Adolescents in particular are throwaways,” she told NOS. “You can raise young children, but teenagers are more difficult. They rebel against everything.”
In addition, the government is taking a step back. Minister Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management wrote yesterday in a letter to the House of Representatives that Rijkswaterstaat wants to focus its green management on activities that are necessary for safety. Cleaning up litter in the roadsides is not part of that.
According to Harbers, many provinces have already stopped cleaning parking lots along roads. Harbers says that Rijkswaterstaat will continue with this.
In Limburg, the organization Maas Cleanup has been focusing for four years on cleaning the banks of the Maas and its tributaries. Volunteers work together with companies and organizations.
According to the organization, there are more than 1000 pieces of waste per 100 meters of bank along the Maas. This year, an estimated 200,000 kilograms of waste was collected by 10,000 volunteers. This happened at 209 locations, including 15 along the Meuse in Belgium.
- 30,000 volunteers collect litter on National Cleanup Day
- Thousands of volunteers tackle litter on National Cleanup Day