Technology empowering global environmental reform

Press release, Let’s Do It!, 28.08.2018

World Cleanup Day team is employing different forms of technology to bring out millions of volunteers in a unified cleanup action spanning over 150 countries on 15th of September.

Putting together 30000 dedicated leaders and adding technology, will result in a level of cooperation and synchronization, not seen before globally. Organisers hope, that this will set new standards for civic cooperation around the globe, using technology to cooperate, engage and put into action unified strategies when dealing with complex challenges.

“Technology is used in every step of organizing World Cleanup Day – mapping the waste, synchronizing and communicating across continents, sharing the news and developments and figuring out lasting solutions for local communities”, said the member of the World Cleanup Day management board, Eva Truuverk.

With the cleanup action approaching, the question is already – what is going to happen next? With several tech-innovators involved in the action since the beginning, the team is also looking to start a public discussion about the potential of technology in tackling the global waste mismanagement crisis.

Rainer Nõlvak, tech-entrepreneur and one of the original instigators of the Let’s Do It movement, propelling the World Cleanup Day, welcomes the European Commission’s plan to ban single-use plastics, but thinks that it’s inevitable to look at the whole production cycle: “Single-use plastic ban – that’s a very good initiative for a start. Next, I would suggest a law that only allows certain safe plastics to be produced. Then there could be a global “repair law” dictating that all products – at least electrical appliances – should be easily repaired and spare parts must be easy to obtain.”

One of the biggest problems, he points out, is the wide range of plastics produced, that makes collecting and recycling both difficult and expensive. If the number of different plastics produced is kept under control then recycling is cheaper and businesses will find profitable ways to collect it.“There should be a global trash collection system where citizens can bring their plastic waste and receive some sort of payment. Most important is to motivate people to collect plastic trash instead of throwing it in nature,” emphasized Nõlvak.

“Computer vision has developed very rapidly during the last 10 years, so from a technological point of view, automated trash sorting has become significantly easier than it used to be. For example, it might be possible to develop automated machines installed in public places, that would accept plastic from the general population in exchange for money. The machine would identify they type plastic, and accept only the right kinds,” brainstormed entrepreneur Ahti Heinla, co-founder of Starship Technologies.

Working with data about the location, content and amount of mismanaged waste, both locally and globally, is another area for future exploration. World Waste Platform, created by Let’s Do It Foundation and run by a community of dedicated volunteers, is pulling data from different waste mapping applications to provide the first global look of our current waste situation.“We know that 30% of world’s waste ends up in nature and oceans, but we don’t know exactly where. After mapping, we’ll have an overview of where the most critical areas are and we can deal with them. It’s a platform which provides open data for everyone to use, to develop further local or regional solutions.” says Kadri Maripuu, Head of Mapping at Let’s Do It Foundation.

World Cleanup Day will gather millions of volunteers in 150 countries to unite with their energy, goodwill, and concern for the environment, to clean their countries of waste pollution in a single day. World Cleanup Day is being propelled by the civic movement ‘Let’s do it! World’, which has been initiating cleanup actions across 113 countries throughout the last decade, with over 20 million volunteers taking part in total. The movement began in the small Northern European tech-savvy country of Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 people came together to clean up their entire country in just five hours. Technology created by former Skype chief architect and co-founder of Starship Technologies, Ahti Heinla, enabled the organizing team to map more than 10000 trash points before the cleanup and arrange the work of 50000 volunteers up to detail.

On 30th of August at 6 PM (Timezone UTC +3) @letsdoitworld holds a Twitter Chat to open the topic of the waste situation in the oceans, discuss the current situation, and brainstorm about the future. Please join, together we can make it better!

The year 2018 marks 100 years since the founding of the Republic of Estonia. World Cleanup Day 2018 is Estonia’s biggest gift to the world on its 100th anniversary.

More information about the centenary events can be found at

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