During the week of World Cleanup Day 2020 from 12 to 19 September 2020, more than 180 countries around the globe joined hands to combat the waste crisis. Singapore was no exception, with Kindred Community spearheading the nation’s efforts in the event.
This year’s iteration of the event saw a new dimension of the waste problem being addressed – digital trash. Just as in the physical world, humans generate tremendous amounts of trash as they navigate the digital world. The single act of receiving an email releases an estimated 0.3 grammes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and this figure increases to 50 grammes if the email comes with an attachment. In fact, the digital world is thought to account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, which is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide that the airline industry produced globally pre-COVID.
With internet usage only becoming even more prevalent, it was an opportune time to incorporate digital waste clean-up in the event. Individuals took part in the digital cleanup by pledging to clear certain amounts of their digital waste, be it files or pictures, from their digital devices.
Physical clean-ups continued as per previous years, but with modifiications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the prevailing pandemic guidelines, groups of up to five members could register for a clean-up session in a particular area, gather, and clean up in that area.
Physical Clean-ups Taking Place in Groups
In total, Kindred Community recorded a hefty 1561 kilogrammes of physical trash cleared by over 250 volunteers across the island. On the digital front, more than three terabytes of digital trash was cleared with the help of more than 100 volunteers.
Volunteers also shared how quick and easy it was to engage in a clean-up of their physical or digital space. By taking just a few minutes of their time to clean up, they were able to accumulate a large amount of waste disposed over the span of the week. Several volunteers also expressed a new-found commitment and interest in cleaning up.
As one volunteer put it,
“It simply is so satisfying to declutter your surroundings; in many ways, having a clean environment contributes to having a clean mind and heart.”
Despite the necessary restrictions resulting from the pandemic, Kindred Community is heartened by the strong showing and interest in the clean-up effort. As we continue to carry out our daily activities, we encourage all to spare a few minutes to clean up the trash around you! It is only by collective effort that we will be able to fight against our global waste crisis.