What do Estonian Tech Millionaires do for Fun?

Tagasi

02.05.2008

They find and digitally map 10,000 tons of garbage. Then they get 40,000 of their closest friends to clean it all up in one single day.

On Saturday, May 3rd Estonians join forces in an effort to clean up the 45,227 km² country from illegally dumped or littered waste.

Technology meets volunteerism with the Estonian civic initiative, Teeme Ära 2008, led by one of the Skype inventors, Ahti Heinla, and the founder of Microlink and Delfi, Rainer Nõlvak.

Close to 11,000 waste dumping sites are mapped by special software based on Google Earth, voluntarily developed by team led by Ahti Heinla, now Chief Architect of Skype and one of core-team members of Teeme Ära 2008.

The team uses the combination of three elements:

• software, developed by Ahti Heinla, based on Google Earth;
• positioning software for mobile phones;
• mobile phones with GPS-device

to create a very simple to use system which allows them to put all the illegal garbage lying around in the country on the map. Each garbage place has its own ID-number, descriptive data and picture.

“Software provided by Ahti Heinla highlights Estonia’s hi-tech approach in everything we do, with mobile parking, e-taxation and paperless government meetings as prime examples,” said Rainer Nõlvak.

Nõlvak added that this innovative software solution brings the waste removal campaign virtually into your living room as everybody can follow real-time progress how Estonia becomes cleaner.

Each of the illegal dumping sites has an ID code on the map, relevant descriptive data and a photo. Such details make thorough logistics planning possible. The map is located online at: www.teeme2008.ee/kaart.

Green shift in the mindset

After the software solution the next step was simple – organize 40,000 people to clean it all up! The organizing team built up the broadest media campaign ever in the country and engaged three percent of Estonia's entire population to drag it all out of the forest on May 3rd.

”Although a massive amount – 10,000 tons, of garbage will be moved in one single day, the real mission of the project is to shift the population's mindset to a more environmentally-conscious way of thinking,” said Rainer Nõlvak.

The population of Estonia is 1.3 million people, so engaging 40,000 people on the clean-up day would be the same as to engage 1.8 million people to participate in such an action directly in Great Britain.

The initiators of the project have set a goal to bring 80% of the collected garbage to recycling. Usual so far in Estonia has been around 10%. This makes it a zero waste management pilot project in Estonia.

Among others, the civic initiative was endorsed by Enterprise Estonia, a foundation for promoting Estonian business environment, international trade and tourism.

Attention! On Sunday, May 4th a concluding press conference is held in Tallinn at 15:00, at the National Libaray (Tõnismägi 2), where Rainer Nõlvak and Ahti Heinla will describe the project more in detail.

Check out our webpage: www.teeme2008.ee (also in English) or contact tiina@teeme2008.ee /
phone: +372 5904 0404


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