A record 6,092 contaminated sites and unregulated dumps were cleaned up across the country in this year's edition of the Let's Clean Bulgaria Together campaign. Data from the campaign's main partner, the Ministry of Environment and Water, show that the 2023 initiative was the largest ever in terms of scale and territorial scope. For comparison, the previous record was set in 2019, when the number of cleaned areas was 5 156. The number of unauthorized dumpsites that were removed in 2023 was 512, 100 more than in 2022. Areas restored and improved this year were 213.
The second record, which the 11th edition of the campaign registered, belongs to children, who were also the main focus of the initiative in 2023. 596 kindergartens and educational institutions took part in "Let's Clean Bulgaria Together" (575 in 2022). Thousands of children, together with their parents, teachers, friends, sports and interest clubs, came out and cleaned Bulgaria again this year. They also took part in a number of beautification, painting, afforestation and other activities that improve the living environment in our country. In many places the clean-up day ended with special festive events.
According to the Ministry of Environment, the amount of rubbish removed was over 4 340 tonnes, with landfills still accepting waste from the day of the campaign. The number of volunteers who in 2023 were not daunted by the bad weather locally, or contributed the following day when weather conditions allowed, was 301,780. In 2022 there were nearly 280,000 volunteers. The data does not include citizens who contributed to a cleaner environment around us and went out to clean without joining in pre-formed groups. The number of organizations and NGOs that in 2023 joined with a large part of their staff is close to 350. 100 of them are joining the initiative for the first year.
All these data show that the campaign is achieving results close to or higher than in 2019 and before the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
The most active district again this year is Ruse, where the most volunteers came out. Burgas came next, where thousands joined in the recovery of the Southern Black Sea coast, which was severely affected in early September. A number of underwater and water actions took place there, beaches and settlements were cleaned. A huge amount of timber was collected or removed from the water and prepared for collection and removal. Among the most active districts this year is again Blagoevgrad, while Stara Zagora, Plovdiv and Vratsa in 2023 showed very high activity and are in the top six.
Again this year the participants in the volunteer initiative came across many curious finds. Volunteers found 20 bags of live wool, three toilet bowls, old windows and a sink. Many tires, canvases, plastic chairs, ropes, cables, cans and serving dishes were pulled out of the bottom of the native Black Sea. Plastic waste such as packaging, bags, straws, bottles and others continue to be among the most commonly discarded items that pollute the environment in urban and suburban environments.
The main focus of the 11th edition of "Let's Clean Bulgaria Together", which again supported the World Cleanup Day organized by Let's Do It World, was personal responsibility and contribution in caring for the cleanliness of the planet, the future and the education of children. You can see how the day went and more interesting information from the different actions and regions here.