The capital city region’s cleaning “talkoot” – that is, a communal working bee that encourages volunteers to get their hands dirty – starts on April 7 and continues until April 23. The aim is to give the city’s public spaces a spring-clean by removing garbage and performing basic aesthetic maintenance.
Riitta Partanen, from the City of Helsinki Public Works Department, says that a long list of volunteer cleaners has already signed up.
“A large number of participants are school children. We’ve already registered 65 clean-up operations and 36 schools and 10 play parks are registered,” says Partanen. “The rest are residents’ associations or other volunteers. Anyone can put together a group, even a small one.”
Nearly 25,000 citizens contributed to the drive to tidy and maintain public spaces last year. Helsinki’s public tidying effort has already been held no less than 30 times in the past and now Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen are part of the operation.
Keen for clean
Common areas are the subject of the drive, but inner courtyards, for example, don’t count as public spaces.
“Let’s clean the city’s public areas that usually get a little less attention, like forests, roadsides and beaches,” says Partanen.
According to the registered volunteers, garbage spikers and refuse sacks will be the required tools of the trade. The really enthusiastic can even register for longer term voluntary service, states Partanen.
"You can also register as a long term volunteer, that is, a park sponsor. The majority of these people elect to tidy a nearby area in their own locality, for example, eradicating invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam,” she adds.
To register for Helsinki-based clean-up operations, contact the City of Helsinki Public Works Department on 09-3103 9000. For other cities, registration information can be found on the municipalities’ websites.