Tidy is neat: World Cleanup Day 2023 report

World Cleanup
World Cleanup Day 2023 – Team Walk of Wisdom

Report: by Manja Bente

On September 16, we participated in the World Cleanup Day 2023. All over the world, people pick up trash that day. From the Walk of Wisdom , we participated around the Rhine/Waal with, among others, the Dijkmagazijn Beuningen, the Veerhuis in Varik and Feed the Source in Basel to clean up waste on the river at various locations. After all, waste that ends up in the rivers also affects our drinking water in a negative way.

It was a beautiful sunny day and we came together with 10 people to participate in this special day. Most of them have dedicated themselves to cleaning up more often and want to contribute to a cleaner world in this way.

We first wanted to clean up the island in the Waal opposite the center of Nijmegen – the Spiegelwaal – but that was precisely where this day was a commemoration of the Waal crossing during WWII. On to the Waal beaches on the side of Nijmegen, into the Ooijpolder. After all, there is (unfortunately) waste everywhere that people just leave behind.

Good news

Good news! There was very little bulky waste such as cans, plastic and glass on the Waal beaches. Fortunately, the municipality of Nijmegen regularly cleans up here and also encourages visitors to take their rubbish with them by offering litter bags at the entrance. We decided to focus on the cigarette butts at the World Cleanup 2023.

World Cleanup

Cigarette butts seem like a silly thing, but nothing could be further from the truth: it is a toxic substance. Together we have cleared about 600 cigarette butts from the beaches and there is probably much more under the sand.

A tip for the smoker: take a box with you where you can put the cigarette butt, then the damage to nature will be limited. A good idea everywhere: due to new regulations, as a smoker you have to do your puff almost everywhere outside. They are even for sale:

World Cleanup

Afterwards we had a nice drink at the cultural terrace de Kaaij of Granny Sientje. All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon. It’s nice to do something good together. If possible, we will participate again next year!

A cigarette can pollute 1000 liters of water

Quote from the website of the Trimbos Institute:

Cigarette butts are particularly toxic to aquatic life and lead to altered behaviour, changes in DNA material, suppression of development and even death. One cigarette butt can contaminate 1000 liters of water. Research shows that at a concentration of one cigarette butt per litre of water, half of the fish are at risk of dying. Cigarette butts also have an effect on plants. For example, they inhibit the growth of some crops and nicotine contaminants are found in, for example, basil and peppermint.

How poison from tobacco smoke ends up in nature

The butt of a filter cigarette consists of a filter and a small piece of unsmoked cigarette. The cigarette filter consists of tightly compressed plastic fibres (cellulose acetate), in which toxic and carcinogenic substances remain due to smoking. Cigarette butts easily end up in fresh and salt water due to the wind, rain and via the sewer. From the billions of cigarette butts that end up in the environment, heavy metals and nicotine leak into nature for years.”

More about the World Cleanup day

For more information about the World Cleanup Day, click here : link.