A whopping 320 tons of rubbish was collected in just one day from the banks of the German rivers Rhine, Moselle, and Ruhr thanks to the help of more than 35,000 volunteers in the “CleanUp” campaign.
In Dusseldorf and Cologne, close to 2,000 people did their part. In Duisburg, Mainz and Mannheim, well over 1,000 participants pitched in. “These people have got it: it’s not their garbage, but it’s our planet,” says Joachim Umbach, initiator of the campaign, who wishes to change people’s mentality: garbage does not belong in nature.
The river Rhine, Europe’s second-largest, carries an estimated 1000 tons of trash into the ocean each year. Next year’s “CleanUp” date has already been set. This time around, the banks of four more rivers – the Main, the Neckar, the Lahn, and the Nahe – will be cleaned. “We have a lot of inquiries from these regions,” says Umbach. Groups from Germany but also from Switzerland, Austria, France, and Belgium take part in the campaign.