On September 19, people from different countries competed in waste collecting and sorting during the Clean Games events. More than 4000 participants collected 96 tons of garbage. All the events in the Baltic Sea basin were held within an international tournament called Clean Games Baltic Cup 2020.
The participants cleaned the streets of Horsens (Denmark), the forest near Warsaw (Poland), the streets of Riga (Latvia). It turned out that trash can be found in large quantities in various parts of Europe. Helen, the game’s organizer in Denmark, says: “I tried to collect trash most days when I take my sons to school and kindergarten, but it’s still a lot of trash I would say.”
In Lithuania, the game took place at one of the points on the route of Giedrius Bučas, an activist hitchhiking along the Lithuanian border and removing garbage from parking lots. After the game, the participants put the collected garbage onto a special area with markings (see photo below). Inga, the organizer of the game in Lithuania, shared her experience: “This grid shows what the composition of trash in our nature is and it was really eye-opening. Most of them are food packages we wouldn’t need them at all – for example, take away coffee cups. The idea is that it’s not only the trash problem but that we produce packages that are used so short and non-recyclable. So I’m planning to write an article.”
Games in these locations, as well as in Belarus, St. Petersburg and Leningrad region were held as part of the Clean Games Baltic Cup. “Council of the Baltic Sea States appreciates Clean Games’ efforts to involve youth in the activities related to the sustainable development of the Baltic Sea region. We consider their game method of garbage collection is a good method for involving people in raising the awareness among young people about the importance of environmental volunteerism and encouraging them to be active in solving the environmental challenges,” Daria Akhutina, the Head of Priority Area Sustainable & Prosperous Region at CBSS Secretariat, commented.
“We were partners of your Clean Games Baltic Cup 2019 volunteer tournament, and after their report at the General Conference of the Union of Baltic Cities in October 2019 in Kaunas (Lithuania), members of the Union of the Baltic Cities were satisfied with the results of this tournament. We’re supporting Clean Games Baltic Cup 2020 and the following tournaments in the region,” Paweł Żaboklicki, Union of the Baltic Cities Secretary General said. The Clean Games Baltic Cup went Live on Facebook, with reports from different countries and special guests.
“That’s also a pedagogical component to teach kids and younger people”
One of the guests was Mikhail Durkin, Executive Secretary at Coalition Clean Baltic: “Our organization has been involved in cleanups for quite a long time but since last year we have partnered with Clean Games understanding that this is a really nice and engaging way of getting people together for the cleanups. The gamification component that was added by the Clean Games was really an important way of inviting more people and sharing the experiences across the region and engaging more and more residences and citizens on all coasts and not only on the sea coast but also at the river banks. So this is the work we are really supporting.” Answering the question of the host, if it is enough to do the cleaning, he said: “We have to do cleanups, because of the learning component. As many would say a person who does the cleanup will learn not to litter and clean after him or her in nature. That’s also a pedagogical component to teach kids and younger people. When it comes to the sources, one may think this comes from someone else. But actually every single person (depending on the country) may pollute approximately 30 kg of plastic every year to the Baltic Sea.”
The Clean Games Baltic Cup partners are international organizations: Let’s do it! World and Earth Day, Council of the Baltic Seas States, Union of the Baltic Cities, Coalition Clean Baltic, Baltic University Programme, Regeneration 2030, Baltic Sea Challenge, Ars Baltica, the Presidential Grants Foundation. The Clean Games Baltic Cup is an annual international environmental tournament that takes place in Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine. In 2019 it was held in 6 countries with 627 participants collecting 7,5 tons of waste. In 2020 there were more than 600 participants collecting 11 tons of waste.
“Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the related restrictions on events, we managed to hold the second International Clean Games tournament at the same level as last year, in terms of the number of participants and countries involved. Residents of Belarus, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia removed the garbage together with us. And we have collected one and a half times more waste in the Baltic countries than in 2019,” said Dmitry Ioffe, head of the Clean Games project.
Clean Games is a large outdoor festival-game with hundreds of people participating. Teams solve environmental riddles, find artifacts, collect and separate garbage, receive points for this and win prizes. Game statistics are kept in real time on the website and in the mobile application. Also, the „Clean Games“ are held in a format developed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the prohibition on public events. Due to this format, the participants start at different times, in different places and do not cross each other.
Clean Games is an international non-governmental organization distributing the methodology of gamified volunteer cleanups for free. The project is being frequently awarded in Russia as an eco-volunteer initiative. It has also been selected to participate in the Paris Peace Forum in 2019, and was presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020.
Since 2014 there were 853 games played in more than 300 cities in 17 countries (Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Estonia, Georgia, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam). 59,000+ participants collected 1200+ tons of garbage. All future games are being announced at the Clean Games Facebook page and the website cleangames.org.
Source: Clean Games Project