From: Reuters
Published May 3, 2008 04:58 PM

Estonians scour country for junk in big clean up

By David Mardiste

TURI, ESTONIA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Estonians scoured fields, streets, forests and riverbanks on Saturday to amass tonnes of rubbish in the Baltic state's first national clean-up.

Using Google maps from the Internet and Global Positioning technology to locate junk, people collected every kind of garbage from tractor batteries to plastic bottles and paint tins and ferried it, often in their own vehicles, to central dumps.

The campaign, which aimed to collect up to 10,000 tonnes of rubbish, was organized by Internet entrepreneurs.

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"It is not really about the rubbish. It is about changing people's mind sets. Next year it might be something else," said Tiina Urm, spokeswoman for the Let's Do It! event.

Estonia inherited a mass of rubbish after it regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 but it has only added to the problem since.

"It has to be done, it can't stay here," said Mats Eek, 17, cleaning up a site in the middle of a forest near the central town of Turi, 100 km (62 miles) from capital city Tallinn.

He and the rest of his team worked to remove old metal, plastic, glass, bottles, and remains of farm medicals and household garbage hundred of meters from deep in a forest.

The organizers mapped and photographed illegal rubbish tips, then put them on the Internet using Google Earth as a platform.

They then used satellite photos and Global Positioning System (GSP) devices for accuracy in finding the clean up sites and asked people to register on the Internet to participate.

(Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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