Valdis Zatlers

Valdis Zatlers

Public activities


The Big Cleanup

In early 2008, President Zatlers became patron of the Big Cleanup, inviting everyone in Latvia to help in cleaning up the country in honour of the 90th anniversary of Latvian independence.
On September 13, 2008, President Zatlers, his family, and several other publicly known people helped to clean up the town of Lapmežciems. Throughout Latvia, they were joined by some 50,000 people who care about sustainable development and the ability to live in an unpolluted environment. They cleaned up 512 locations in 364 local government territories. Organisers said later that more than 260,000 sacks of trash were collected.


The Big Cleanup had such a great response that it was decided to continue the project. In 2009, the Big Cleanup was organised on April 18. President Zatlers invited his opposite numbers in Lithuania, Estonia and Poland to become patrons of cleanup efforts so that the spring Big Cleanup could be held in all three Baltic States and Poland, as well.
On March 18, 2009, President Zatlers attended a meeting of Big Cleanup co-ordinators, calling on representatives of local governments, schools and public organisations to become actively involved in the April 18 event.
On April 18, more than 110,000 volunteers collected some 340,000 60-litre sacks of trash. The Big Cleanup was supported by 834 co-ordinators throughout Latvia, including 392 local governments, 269 schools, 161 companies and organisations, and 12 universities, plus individual participants who cleaned up their own property. The President and First Lady worked in Jelgava with students from the elementary boarding school of the Jelgava No. 1 Sanatorium to clean up the school’s park. 


In Latvian folklore, work sessions like these always begin with a song, and so this year, as the 10th Latvian Student Song and Dance Festival Approaches, activists were asked to clean up territories which have to do with the Song Festival – stages, memorials to composers, etc. Members of choirs, dance groups, folklore groups and orchestras were also invited to be present at other places where the Big Cleanup is proceeding so as to pep up the participants of the process.
The emphasis in this year’s Big Cleanup was on diversity – people were being asked not just to clean up trash, but also to plant trees and flowers, build birdhouses, restore fences, benches and bridges, etc.
President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers and Mrs Lilita Zatlere took part in the Big Cleanup on April 24, 2010 in Skrīveri Dendrology Park.
The Big Cleanup of 2011 took place on April 30. Between March 22 and April 15, the organisers of the cleanup called on every person in Latvia to become a volunteer in organising the Big Cleanup and the “Come Help Latvia!” project. Each person could become a volunteer in the Big Cleanup, identifying those polluted areas in his or her city or administrative district which required cleaning during the Big Cleanup. Volunteers were also asked to identify the loveliest places in their surroundings – ones which would offer joy, inspiration and good emotions to everyone. 2011 is the Year of Volunteering in the European Union, and the slogan is “Be a Volunteer! Dare to Change!” The Big Cleanup is the only project of its scope in Latvia at this time. Each year it brings together several hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
In 2011, President Valdis Zatlers and First Lady Lilita Zatlere took part in the Big Cleanup at the Ziepniekkalns neighbourhood of Rīga, working together with members of the Young Guard, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the “Mission Possible” educational programme, and residents of nearby buildings to clean up the area around Ozolciema Street in the neighbourhood.

The overall aim of the project is to make sure that by the 100th anniversary of Latvia’s independence in 2018, Latvia and the Baltic Sea region are the cleanest place in the world, thus allowing nature to recover by ridding it of plastic bottles, rubber tyres, poisonous cans of paint and other garbage.



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Related articles:

 PHOTOS: A Meeting with Organizers of the Big Cleanup (12.05.2011.)

PHOTOS: Participation in the Big Cleanup (30.04.2011.)

President Zatlers Calls for Support for Realization of the Dream of Latvia as the Cleanest and Greenest Place in the World (11.04.2011.)

Preparations for Next Year’s Big Cleanup Discussed With President (29.10.2010.)

VIDEO: President Zatlers and Mrs Zatlere participate in the Big Cleanup  

Hundreds of Thousands of People to Take Part in Big Cleanup Saturday, April 24

President of Latvia Calls for Big Cleanup to Establish Latvia as World’s Greenest Country

Latvia’s President to Launch Big Working Bee in Jelgava

President of Latvia Calls on Local Residents to Participate in Big Cleanup Programme