World Cleanup Day (aka WCD) is a global social action program aimed at combating the global solid waste problem, including the problem of marine debris. The next World Cleanup Day is September 21, 2019.
World Cleanup Day is celebrated with litter cleanup and waste mapping activities spanning every time zone. Environmental cleanup events are held in nearly every country until concluding near the international date line in Hawaii and American Samoa.
The 2019 World Cleanup Day will be held on the third Saturday of September and coincides in 2019 with Peace Day and the global climate strike (September 20-27).
World Cleanup Day is held over the course of a 24-hour period, usually in mid-September. There are numerous organizations that facilitate and host World Cleanup Day events globally. Like Earth Day, World Cleanup Day is non-partisan, apolitical, and is not affiliated with any national or global political party or discrete ideology.
The inaugural World Cleanup Day was September 15, 2018, but it builds on the successes of previous global cleanup efforts. The goal of World Cleanup Day 2018 was to involve 5% of the world's population (or approximately 380 million people). While the effort fell short of the goal, WCD18 directly mobilized 17.5 million people worldwide.
Global cleanup efforts have existed in many forms throughout human history, especially after widespread catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, and powerful tsunamis.
In modern history, these efforts are typically undertaken by the affected communities, with support from various international organizations and NGOs, such as Red Cross, Oxfam, and other relief organizations but typically in post-conflict zones. They have included efforts to remove land mines, beach cleanup, and other municipal and non-governmental actions.
World Cleanup Day is a decentralized network, made of different grassroots efforts. One of the largest organizers of global cleanup efforts is Let's Do It! World. Founded in Estonia, the organization successfully mobilized more than 50,000 volunteers for a single-day, country-wide cleanup effort that resulted in the elimination of 10,000 tons of illegal waste. The Estonian action, called Let's Do It 2008 emerged as a global model, spreading globally thereafter. JCI was the largest organizing partner helping to maximize the reach of the first world wide action in 2018. Today, the movement has grown into a network of 169 countries and territories. During the 2018 World Cleanup Day, 157 countries and territories participated with a reported 17.8 million people. It was estimated that over 82,280 tons of waste were collected around the world.