Butt out the cigarette butts with Let’s Do It India’s “Fugitive” this World Cleanup Day

CP 11-min

Let’s Do It India is the Indian division of Let’s Do It World, a global not-for-profit that aims to tackle environmental and social problems related to mismanaged waste by engaging with communities, governments and policymakers for a cleaner ecosphere.

Observed every year, the World Cleanup Day is the largest one-day peacetime civic action against the waste crisis and also serves as a catalyst in achieving Let’s Do It India’s goals. On this World Cleanup Day (19 September 2020), Let’s Do It India launches “The Fugitive” campaign to stir awareness around the soaring issue of cigarette butt litter, as also aiming at shifting behaviors to reduce cigarette litter.

The problem was discerned in the last few cleanup drives where cigarette butts were witnessed to be a major contributor of roadside garbage. Every year trillions of cigarettes are produced resulting in tonnes of toxic waste which is dumped into the environment as cigarette butts. They are one of the most commonly littered items in urban areas worldwide, accounting for 22-46 per cent of visible litter due to their poor biodegradability.

In addition to understanding the urgency of the waste management problem, Let’s Do It India is in cognizance of the current COVID-19 situation, and is therefore conducting the campaign virtually. The campaign will be aggressively carried out digitally through social media platforms alongside various webinars that foster dialogues on this pressing issue. The online events will further engage and encourage people to be equal stakeholders in driving change and being part of the World Cleanup Day.

Let’s Do It India came into action in 2016 and has been focusing specifically on promoting a greater understanding of the connections between people and the environment. It has been able to make a strong presence in 24 Indian states of the country with an astounding volunteer base of over 1 lakh. In addition to this, it has also mobilized over 1.6 million self-driven citizens of India and has collected over 44,000 tons of waste in the year 2019.

With building sustainability being its larger narrative, Let’s Do It India’s campaign is powered by Skillex as the main sponsor and Finolex Pipes, Levercode, Spirit Pharmaceuticals and Karmic Realms OU as Co-sponsors. They have also partnered with The Embassy of Estonia, AIESEC in Delhi IIT, WasTed 360 Solutions, Code Effort Pvt Ltd, Catalyfe, LEAD India, Decathlon India, Mukul Madhav Foundation, Robotex India, Social Circle, Schbang (Digital Media Partner) and Wishbox Studio (PR Partner) to boost the campaign further. The movement is supported globally by organizations such as UN-Habitat, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), Earth Day Network, AIESEC, Rotary and Future for Friday.

“We, at Let’s Do It India, believe in the notion that people want to do the right thing, all they need is a little encouragement or incentive. That’s where we come in, we spread awareness around the pressing environmental issue of waste management and motivate people to step-up and clean their surroundings. The aim is to promote change in individual behavior and divert civil societies and governments attention to the crisis of littering,” said Prof Pankaj Choudhary, Founder, Let’s Do It, India.

“We really wish to spur public education about the environmental impacts of cigarette butt litter. I do believe that nature’s sustainable evolution essentially entails the cohesion of people, planet and profits. It is therefore crucial for us to understand our role in curbing and reducing waste. Keeping in mind the safety of our volunteers and the people at large, we encourage everyone to get involved in the virtual campaign and exercise their role towards a clean world,” added Supriya Rehil, Director, Projects and Communications, Let’s Do It, India and the lead for the campaign, while talking about this year’s awareness campaign.

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