Inspiration: Cleanup organized in Helsinki, Finland by 8-year-old girl (Oct 06)

Frustrated with litter in her neighborhood in Haaga, western Helsinki, Kaisa-Sofia Häyhtiö, 8, decided to act and organized a cleanup on Sunday September 26th. „I just got fed up with the trash and thought that if people won´t clean up after themselves, someone else has to“, says Kaisa-Sofia.

She spread information about the event by distributing self-made posters in shops, schools, day care centers, nursing homes and the library. Some 60 volunteers showed up at the local church and, guided by Kaisa-Sofia´s parents, spread out to clean the area in small groups of friends and families. Trash-picking tools were provided by the Public Works Department of the City of Helsinki.

Getting a closer look in the green areas of a district usually considered clean, it soon became clear that the team’s concern for the lack of trash for the Finnish cleanup was needless. There were enough cigarette butts, wrappings and more imaginative waste, such as abandoned role-playing equipment, to keep the whole suburb busy for a day. 

„It was a fun afternoon, spent with friends in fresh autumn air“, said the participants. Talking with the locals revealed strong discontent with the litter, they added. „Most of all, it was inspiring to see an 8-year-old mobilizing the neighborhood. The experience was truly galvanizing, greatly increasing my faith in our project – both in the need of it, and its eventual success in encouraging people to take responsibility.“