Spring cleaning (jarní úklid) in Czech homes is an important March-April ritual in which rugs are aired and windows are polished to a sparkle.
Such cleanliness is not as fervently observed in the public sphere, however, a fact that is obvious to anyone who has ever noticed the large amount of garbage and dog mess commonly found in public spaces in Prague and beyond.
Czech Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec (ANO) recently told reporters:
“I do not know if it was 40 years of socialism [but] in the Czech Republic there are still many people who not only feel that it is normal to throw a candy wrapper on the street, but even to take an old chair out into the woods and leave it there.”
The Ukliďme Česko (We Clean the Czech Republic) project will attempt to challenge such attitudes again this year with a large-scale clean-up effort taking place throughout the Czech lands on April 8.
The local initiative is part of Let’s Do It! World, a civic-led mass movement that began in Estonia in 2008 when 50,000 people united together to clean up the entire country in just five hours.
Since then, the Let’s Do It! model has spread—to date, 113 countries and over 16 million people have joined together to clean up illegal waste.
Up to 100,000 people are expected to participate in the local event, meanwhile, organizers are seeking volunteers to help collect litter at some 1,700 Czech locations. Last year participants collected over 1,600 tons.
The nationwide clean-up is supported by the Environment Ministry, who consider the event both “a symbol of spring awakening, as well as a manifestation of mindfulness and thoughtfulness to the environment.”
Littering in the city of Prague can carry a fine of up to 30,000 CZK.