Throughout the summer, Clean FFM has been running regular events for the community to help pick-up litter in different rubbish hot-spots around the city. Since March, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in bottles and picnic remains everywhere. It got so bad in the city in July that Clean FFM made a point by providing a huge amount of bins in a small, rubbish, hot-spot. It’s been on my schedule for a while to help pick litter, but for various reasons I’ve never actually made it until today.
Today’s clean-up was organised to tie in with World Clean-Up Day, an action that sees volunteers in 180 different countries pick-up litter to help clean-up the world. Today’s event was held at Hafenpark, a lovely green area next to the river, where many people picnic and play sports. We arrived with our hardy gloves and wooden tongs I’d picked up a few days earlier and were surprised to see at least 50 other people also ready to clean up.
The volunteers spread out through the park, interweaving between the bootcamp and bodybuilders, picking up litter big and small. I found the whole experience really satisfying, constantly scanning the ground for anything that doesn’t belong. The biggest thing that surprised me was the sheer amount of cigarette butts on the floor – this accounted for about 70% of my full bag. It was horrible. There were also a ridiculous amount of beer bottle caps, no bottles as here in Germany the bottles are worth a little money when you recycle them, but the caps were everywhere. It was horrifying to see how much rubbish there was.
In total, we helped clean-up for two hours and our big bags were pretty full. When we put our bags with the others, awaiting collection, I was amazed how many there were.
In total, the volunteers had collected 124 bags of rubbish, a supermarket trolley, a rusty bike, a skateboard, and countless other large items. It was truly shocking to see quite how much there was from just two hours in a relatively small area.
I’m so pleased I finally managed to take part and volunteer for this important cause, it is something I’ll definitely contribute to in the future, as sadly I don’t think the problem is going to go away. It’s heartening to see causes like Clean FFM and the large amount of volunteers coming together to do their bit for the environment, but it’s still sad that they had to in the first place. A thought-provoking new thing.