Making A Dent In The Postponed "Clean Up The World Day"

School Children picking up trash in Clean up the World Israel DayWhile most people in Israel went about their normal everyday routines, a considerable number of dedicated ones went out last Monday into the country’s fields, forests, parks and beaches to pick up trash.

At least for one day they make their country a little bit cleaner by taking part in the international annual Clean Up The World community clean-up and environmental campaign.

More than 170,000 people from all walks of life were out filling up big green plastic bags with all kinds of trash, ranging from discarded cigarettes and packages, empty bottles of all types, leftover food and trash from beach and forest picnic sites, and numerous other items discarded by thoughtless people.

The cleaning groups consisted of students, pensioners, members of scouting and other youth groups,  soldiers,  company employees, and others who wanted to be a part of this annual happening that in the past has included such dignitaries as Israeli President Shimon Peres and executive members of the or Jewish National Fund which takes care of the country’s national parks, forests, and other sites.

The day-long activities were in coordination with the activities of the global Clean Up The World Organization in which the worldwide cleaning weekend of September 17-19 fell at the time of the Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashonah, and in which more than 40 million participants from 120 countries were doing the same activities in their respective countries. But Israelis didn’t want the chance to participate, so scheduled theirs list past week.

The idea of these massive clean-up campaigns is to make people aware that being concerned about the environment is not just in regards to industrial and other forms of pollution and that irresponsible littering of public and private facilities is one of the biggest problems we face in this modern age. 

This is especially true in light of our recent Green Prophet article “The Middle East is Drowning in Waste” that paints a graphic picture of what is going on in some neighboring countries in regards to their garbage problems and in which approximately 250,000 tons of solid waste every day is mostly dumped untreated in makeshift landfills, if collected at all.

In regards to Israel’s solid wastes like trash left out on street curbs to be picked up once a week, most of it winds up in large garbage dumps or landfills like the former Hiria Garbage Mountain which is now slated to be turned into a public park and recycling facility.

Where all the garbage and trash that used to be hauled to this location goes now is “out of sight and mind” to most people as it gets hauled off to new landfills and dumps in the south of the country, as noted in another Green Prophet article in which a woman threw her mother’s old mattress into the trash that allegedly contained her mom’s life savings of around a million dollars.

That mattress wound up as part of the 2,500 tons of garbage and trash per day that is taken to  three different land fills that used to be the daily repository of the Hiria dump.

While it’s all very nice for people to participate in annual events such as Clean Up The World Day, we should all be a little more conscious of what we do in our daily lives and keep our environmental surroundings a bit more tidy. This includes our own neighborhoods and not just public parks and beaches. After all, as the saying goes: we all live on an island we cannot leave.

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