World Cleanup Day 2021 in Rome: Retake Roma rallies a legion of volunteers along the Tiber: TERRA ROMA

DAI Southern Chapter Chair Rebecca Spitzmiller helped organize a successful World Cleanup Day 2021 here in Rome along the Tiber River. Hundreds of volunteers participated in Terra Roma. Here is the article that was published in the Veneto Views:

WORLD CLEANUP DAY is one of the biggest civic movements of our time, uniting volunteers across the world for a cleaner planet. This year’s World Cleanup Day was held on Saturday, September 18, and brought together over 25 million people across 190 countries for the cause.

In Italy, Retake Roma and its sister affiliations in cities across Italy rose to the occasion. In Rome alone, the grassroots organization unleashed about 1000 of it volunteers – known as Retakers – to carry out its multiple-site event featuring five separate cleanup sites along the Tiber River.  Dubbed “TERRA ROMA,” the event gained massive support from the community: 45 different organizations pitched in, – including NGOs, universities, embassies and business enterprises – uniting Romans and the international community along the shores of the Tiber River as it crisscrosses the Capital.

Terra Roma aimed to draw attention to the Eternal City’s central artery, the Tiber, where nature, history and culture meet. For years the Tiber has been disappearing from daily Roman life, a victim of neglect and degradation. 

At Ponte Salario, the Tiber passes through of a nature reserve, and is traversed by the modern Via Salario bridge, which is built on an ancient Roman bridge, shown here below (left) completely buried under an illegal garbage dump. On Saturday 150 volunteers descended the steep banks to clear away the trash, all in one morning.

At one of the event’s sites, Scalo de Pinedo, an ancient but defunct port, Retakers removed trash, weeds and overgrown foliage from the historic staircase, filling 100 oversized garbage bags (below, top right).

Several US based organizations contributed to the success of the mega-event.  Members of American Exchange Rome and Democrats Abroad Italy’s Southern Chapter joined Retake Roma to celebrate World Cleanup Day, in this year’s edition of the worldwide event, dubbed Terra Roma.  Members of all three groups share many values and characteristics: they aim to foster friendly bonds within the Rome community while making a positive contribution to society as a whole.

Several US based organizations contributed to the success of the mega-event.  Members of American Exchange Rome and Democrats Abroad Italy’s Southern Chapter joined Retake Roma to celebrate World Cleanup Day, in this year’s edition of the worldwide event, dubbed Terra Roma.  Members of all three groups share many values and characteristics: they aim to foster friendly bonds within the Rome community while making a positive contribution to society as a whole.

All three groups are completely free to join and regularly organize in-person and online events. Among the volunteers at the Scalo de Pinedo Retake were also students, faculty and administrators from Temple University and John Cabot University.   

For more information on the groups that organized and participated in the event, contact:

Retake Roma: www.RetakeRoma.org  [email protected]

Free Exchange: https://www.american-exchange-rome.org/  [email protected]

Democrats Abroad Italy, Southern Chapter: www.democratsabroad.org/it_south [email protected]