Damn, there are too many cigarette-smokers in Eindhoven! I drew that conclusion after cleaning up for a few hours in Strijp-S. On Saturday the 21st of September it was World Clean-up Day.
At first glance, it does not look too bad. No, Strijp-S is not filthy. Admittedly, since the Sint Lucas art school moved to the former Philips factory site two years ago, the amount of residual waste has increased. But not in such a way that I, as a local, stumble over the soda cans and cookie packets. Nevertheless, I thought it would be a good idea to get up early on my free weekend for a better world. A small effort, right?
World clean-up day
Junior Chamber International (JCI) organized a clean-up morning as part of World Clean-up day. Together with my neighbour Maudi de Louw, I decided to sign up and roll up my sleeves. Apart from the two of us, 96 people gathered at 9:00 pm on Ketelhuisplein. While we enjoyed a cup of coffee, the members of the organization handed out litter sticks, yellow vests, garbage bags and work gloves.
The turnout was larger than expected, which meant that Maudi and I set off without litter sticks and vests, but that didn’t bother us. In the valley of the dead, we only had to watch out for passing buses. Otherwise, it was very quiet, especially for a Saturday morning. We walked over to the Klokgebouw, where we started. The small amount of residual waste lying around actually surprised us. We soon realized the current state of affairs… that cigarette butts were the main trash culprits.
Squat, get up and repeat. These movements soon became automatic. Philip Morris would turn in his grave. He certainly did not dare dream that his tobacco sticks would cause so much misery. A few hours later based on our observations, we concluded that cigarette butts were the most common piece of rubbish.
Smokers, shame on you!
“They should use biodegradable filters,” I hear someone say. “Smokers, shame on you!” says Juul Rameau. She belongs to JCI which is a network organization for enterprising people up to 40 years of age who want to develop themselves personally. “Do something about it. This is a blatant problem!” She gets all worked up. Other people get excited too.
Maudi and I also found soda cans, tobacco packets, a bicycle lamp, order receipt, a dead bird and a fake fingernail. Another participant turned up an identity card. Someone else returned with two dirty pairs of underpants. She found the cotton briefs remarkably enough in a tree! There was a woman who also found “several condoms” in the Philips de Jongh park.
Seven Renewi bins
We filled seven Renewi waste bins, which are stationed in the middle of the Ketelhuisplein. We did good work. JCI volunteer Esther Bulkens (36) believes that too. She is the driving force behind the initiative. She did this to create some awareness and is hopeful for the positive ripple effect.
I saw the advert: wear gloves, become a hero, and clean the planet. I did indeed wear a glove, did not feel like a hero, but I helped to make our planet cleaner for a few hours. And I can tell you something, that is a great feeling!
Source: Eindhovens Dagblad
Written by: Willem Brouwer
Translated and edited by: Nicole Cullinan