World Cleanup Day 2020 in Zug
This year, my birthday fell not only on my favourite International "Talk like a Pirate" Day, but also on World Cleanup Day 2020. So I kindly asked my better half if it would be ok to ditch my birthday table for an hour or two and join the International Volunteers for WWF in Zug to join their monthly cleanup campaign. Time limitations had prevented me to join past events of the WWF local team, so I was especially glad I could finally make it.
As it is an ooccasion he had asked me some time ago to join, I also took my 6-year-old son with me, and equipped with gloves and a good amount of hydroalcoholic gel we made our way to Zug Bahnhof to meet the other volunteers of the day.
Manu (right on the pic) was leading the efforts this Saturday. A bagpack full of glass jars, bags and other protection materials, he explained our group of 3 adults and 1 kid how WWF has developed a campaign to collect cigarette butts among other collected waste (needless to say, what could be removed from the ground was collected and discarded as well). At the end of each session, WWF leaves the jars at the Okihof, and the cigarette butts are weighed to build a national total that will be presented at the end of the campaign.
Gloves and jackets on, we started our way on Alpenstrasse, the direct street between the Central Station and the Zugersee lake. Within this short distance only, we had already collected 2 full jars of butts. The prospects for the rest of the way were not looking that good.
As much as it was depressing to see how stupid people can be (why leaving your trash at the feet of a trash can, seriously?!), spirits were high and making it kind of a game helped pushing the motivation. Clear "winning spots" were the benches along the lake: it was not challenging to imagine the crowds enjoying their Friday night at the waterfront, a cigarette in the hand.
It was early enough not to meet too many people on the way. Many suspicious looks were met with big smiles (collecting other people's waste seems to be a suspect activity for many, it seems), and an old couple congratulated us for our action. Their words were surel enough to make the entire process worthwhile.
My son and I left the group at the level of Schutzengel train station, as the others were heading further to Chollermulli lakeside. The fog had finally disappeared to leave place to a radiant sun.
Many more jars, sadly, had been filled.
Why not join the coming cleanup meetups in Zug?
The next 2 sessions will take place on 10 October and 14 November. Details to sign up are available here. The group generally meets in the center of Zug and follows the lake path along the bus and train lines, meaning that you can leave the group when you want/need and use public transports for the way back. The pace is relaxed, unfortunately driven by the amount of waste to collect as we walk. No need for specific health prerequisites, others than you will need here and there to bend to grab the waste (however, I am sure that any standing support is also welcome).
This is also a great occasion for you not only to make a good deed of the month, but also to enrich your kids' experience regarding environmental management. Many questions can be discussed: What is the environmental impact of cigarette butts? What happens to our waste? How to protect our lake and its surroundings? etc... The action is totally kid-friendly (as long of course as you ensure their safety).
To support the discussions you can refer to this great article from National Geographic giving details around the pollution left by cigarette butts in our environment.
A big thank you to Manu, Felix, Eva and Nicky, our companions for the day, and Melanie for driving the group's activities in Zug.