World CleanUp Day

17 September is World Cleanup Day. It unites volunteers, governments and organisations across the globe to tackle the global waste problem and build a new and sustainable world. Every year, the European Commission, the United Nations and our blue friends, the Smurfs, organise an awareness-raising campaign – #EUBeachCleanup – which features cleanup events across the globe. In 2022, the fifth edition of the #EUBeachCleanup focuses on youth, under the umbrella of the European Year of Youth and within the overarching theme “united against marine litter”. The City of Brussels also joined the campaign, honouring those who clean the city every day. "Canal It Up", a Brussels-based initiative, informed us about the waste problems the Brussels canal is facing.

Canal It Up

Canal It Up is a Brussels-based initiative focused on creating a clean, plastic-free canal in the city so nature can find its place.

Canal It Up works towards achieving structural solutions to the issues of floating trash, bad water quality and lack of nature in the canal and the river Senne in Brussels. Some of these solutions include organising awareness-raising activities; greening the canal and building vegetalised islands with aquatic plants; installing a trash barrier; improving water quality; and recycling the trash collected in the canal. Find out more about Canal It Up HERE.


Every year, millions of tonnes of waste end up in the ocean. To protect marine life, the United Nations teams up with the European Union and the Smurfs to inspire everyone (young or old!) to take action to clean beaches or riverbanks across the world through the #EUBeachCleanup campaign.

This year, the United Nations, the European Union and the Smurfs joined forces with the City of Brussels on the occasion of World Cleanup Day to recognise the work of those who clean the city each day and raise awareness about the impact of littering. Litter on the streets of our cities can end up washed away into our rivers and oceans.

The European Union is spearheading global efforts to reduce and avoid plastic pollution, including marine litter, among others by setting reuse and recycling targets or by helping to reduce single use plastics and microplastics as well as waste from lost fishing gear.

Comic book characters and Sustainable Development Goals supporters the Smurfs were also involved in the campaign. For more than 60 years, the Smurfs have advocated universal values such as tolerance, solidarity, respect for nature and the environment.

Read more about the #EUBeachCleanup campaign.

Join the wave

Interested in joining the #EUBeachCleanup campaign? It’s easy!

You can either join one of the events organised locally or register your own event. It can be an individual action or a team effort, every action counts!

Register your event and results in the dedicated section of the ActNow App.

We can all make a real difference to our planet, taking responsible action as individuals to collectively turn a drop in the ocean into a wave of change!