Master’s students and alumni pick up trash in Bonn’s Rheinaue park on World Environment Day 2021

This past Saturday marked World Environment Day, and in the spirit of the day, students and alumni from the Joint Master’s of Geography of Environment and Human Risk programme gathered in Bonn’s Rheinaue park to pick up trash.

The activity was first initiated by the UNU-MERIT Alumni Committee, who had already planned a clean-up in Maastricht for the occasion. It became a joint undertaking when they reached out to the master’s programme at UNU-EHS to organize an event in Bonn for the same day. From there, student representatives Lisa Hartmann, Angela Bungert and Christopher Ihinegbu mobilized their cohorts and alumni into action.

Finding motivated participants was not difficult, and with the date and time already set, the reps only had to choose the location and reach out to Bonn Orange, the city’s waste management and street cleaning agency, to provide them with gloves, trash bags and the location of the trash pick-up site.

“Angela, Christopher and I chose Rheinaue because it is a big green space and close to the UN campus. The rest was easy because Bonn Orange has a platform set up for such initiatives,” said Hartmann, who along with Ihinegbu represents the newest master’s cohort.

Despite the relative ease in mobilization, the students still had their work cut out for them at the park. In order to ensure COVID-19 protocols were met, the twenty participants met at separate meeting points and were restricted to working in pairs. Then, with gloves, masks and trash bags in hand, they worked their way across the park, removing what trash they could.

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