The clean up day of Russia in Ulan Ude - the capital of Buryatia

 Russia is not just one of the biggest countries in the world, but also one of the biggest countries who are doing the cleanup action across whole country in one day. That requires very good co-operation and coordination among the extensive network of strong local leaders. As the report from the big Russian cleanup with the overall data and results is still on the way, we can turn our curious eye to a more local efforts.

Viktoria Kuusk, a Let’s Do It! volunteer teammember, together with Partner relations manager Eva Truuverk, decided to practice new and emerging type of tourism –taking a week off to go and clean another country. Taking a train and heading to Ulan Ude – the Capital of Buryatia. Ulan Ude is maybe not one of the best-known tourism destinations in the world, but as it borders with the world’s largest, deepest and oldest body of fresh water – Lake Baikal, it is a significant place to experience and participate a world’s most ambitious civic action – cleaning up our home planet.

Viktoria Kuusk hunting for bottles near Lake Baikal

“I was so grateful to see the people cleaning up their homeland and felt very privileged that I could be a part of that,” described Viktoria her experience, adding: “At the same time it was shocking to see the forest ground covered with such a layer of plastic and glass bottles.”

The local part of the country-wide cleaning brought together 150 of the most lake- and nature-loving volunteers and was organized by a civic- group Save Baikal ( Every participant managed to fill up almost 2 large bags as the collective result was a 280 bags of trash gathered from the forest area. Majority of the trash consisted of glass and plastic waste.

Eva Truuverk from World Cleanup 2012 core team managed to fill up several bags with waste

Leaders of Save Baikal - Maxim Tokarev and Milana Petrova were very happy with the action results. “It was already a 7th effort since spring and it’s great to see many young and intelligent people being proud participants,” said Maxim. “We have had around 600 volunteers taking part in the actions this year collecting together more than 5500 bags of waste,” he adds. The team also finds it very important to sort and recycle – so far they have been able to handle most of the collected waste in a sustainable way. The area surrounding the lake now has two active civic groups dedicating their time and energy to save this natural wonder. In addition to Save Baikal, on 2012, the local team of Irkutsk  was formed, so that the leaders of Save Baikal could now focus more to the Buryatia area surrounding the lake.

Organizers Maxim Tokarev (left) and Milana Petrova (right) from Save Baikal and Boris Danilov (center) from Lake Baikal Protection Fond

Maxim and Milana have been taking this action seriously - originated from Moscow , they decided to move to Buryatia in April this year, to be able to prepare for the event. After the clean up day was successfully behind them, they moved back to their home in Moscow. Maxim has dedicated his work at the university to develop a special system for protecting the Lake Baikal and surrounding nature areas. On April 2013 they are planning to return to Buryatia again to continue their work of cleaning and saving the beautiful nature of Baikal region.

The summer volunteer camp dedicated to discovering and protecting this clear wonder of nature - „Save Baikal“ will take place in 2013 and people from all over the world are very welcome.