One Man’s Story Has People Picking up Trash Worldwide

posted: 11/18/15
by: Danny Clemens
Project Schone Schie before & after
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The bank of the Schie before & after Tommy Kleyn removed 20 bags of litter.
Tommy Kleyn/Project Schone Schie

A campaign going viral on Facebook challenges people around the world to take a mere 30 minutes out of their day to pick up litter. Project Schone Schie (Dutch for "Clean River Schie") is the brainchild of Tommy Kleyn, a Netherlands-based artist who grew increasingly frustrated by the pollution that accumulated along the banks of South Holland's Schie river.

Armed with a trash bag and a gripper, Kleyn intended to take 30 minutes out of his day one morning to collect litter from the riverbank. A half-hour later, he had collected an entire garbage bag full of trash -- but there was still a harrowing amount of garbage in the area. Kleyn then decided to dedicate 30 minutes of his time each day until the banks were clean.

Kleyn's friends enthusiastically joined his effort to clean up the Schie, and municipal government workers also lent their time to his initiative.

After collecting enough trash to fill nearly two dozen trash bags, Kleyn posted pictures of his daily trash haul on social media, and they (predictably) spread like wildfire. On Imgur, his story garnered nearly 30,000 upvotes.

Related: "Mr. Trash Wheel" Removes 4,000,000 Cigarettes from Baltimore Harbor

As the world turned its eyes to the once-polluted riverbank, Project Schone Schie was born. The campaign has galvanized people around the world into action; do-gooders from dozens of countries have taken to the project's Facebook page to share photos of grassroots garbage collection initiatives:

One thing I've learned from this site is, that once people have done a cleanup, they tend to keep at it. That's one of...

Posted by Project Schone Schie on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tom Holleman, Dutchman by birth, lives in Antalya, Turkey. He runs a rafting company that rafts the river Koprulu. Each...

Posted by Project Schone Schie on Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back in the Netherlands, Kleyn's hard work paid off in a very rewarding fashion: during a recent visit to the rehabilitated riverbank, he noticed that a Eurasian Coot had taken up residence in an area previously too polluted for habitation.

We need to take a stand for our planet before it's too late.
Click here to find out how you can #StartWith1Thing and make a difference.

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