(photo credit: Courtesy)
We all want to live in a green, beautiful, high-quality environment. We will be able to do so only if we all do our bit to protect the open spaces and immediate surroundings where we spend our leisure hours.
Over the past six years, KKL-JNF has asked those who identify with these values, who want to contribute towards keeping public spaces clean, to join the annual massive cleanup campaign. This campaign is part of International Cleanup Day, under the auspices of "Clean Up the World" - an Australia-based international organization in cooperation with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). JNF Australia has been a major supporter since the inception of the campaigns. As part of this campaign, about 35 million people in about 100 countries will be going out to clean up the cities, beaches, forests and open spaces in their vicinities.
This year, International Clean Up Day will take place in Israel on Monday, 10th October 2007. Thanks to a generous and special contribution of JNF America, local activities on this day will be expanded and will focus on the Negev region, when Negev communities will participate in Clean Up Day for the benefit of the entire region. The contribution of JNF America is part of its extensive activities on behalf of the State of Israel, which include strengthening the Negev and outlying towns in southern Israel.
The support of JNF America has enabled for the first time in Israel, an experiment with new environmental-friendly garbage bags at this year's Clean Up Day activities, made from organic materials that decompose soon after use. In addition, there will be educational and informational activities on the subjects of waste, recycling and ecology for the general public, at the Visitors' Centers of the Duda'im Recycling Site in the Negev.
Other activities countrywide will take place with help of the Pratt Foundation of Australia, the Israel Ministry of Environment, which is promoting the "Clean Beach" project in Israel, the Union of Local Authorities in Israel; the Ministry of Construction & Housing, the Neighborhood Renewal Division; the Council for a Beautiful Israel; the Dan Region Association of Towns; the Duda'im Recycling Site; the Elah Recycling Conglomerate; and the National Geographic television station.
To date, KKL-JNF has launched six annual extensive cleanup campaigns. On last October's International Clean Up Day, about 100,000 Israelis from dozens of towns and organizations throughout the country participated in what was the largest environmental campaign ever conducted in Israel. Participation crossed all boundaries of religion or nationality and included secular and religious Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druse, Bedouins, veteran citizens and new immigrants, residents of neighborhoods being renovated and people from established vicinities.
The extensive response of the population to KKL-JNF's initiative to go out and clean up the surroundings was also noted by the Knesset's Committee of the Interior & Environment, which marked International Clean Up Day by festive events at the Knesset at which participants signed a covenant committing themselves to activism for a clean, beautiful environment. Minister Raleb Majadallah, previously head of the Knesset's Interior & Environment Committee, proposed legislation to mandate two Clean Up days on the Israeli calendar: international and national.