IT Gurus Launch Software Cleanup of Estonia

Project aims to recycle 80% of 10,000 tons of garbage in illegal dumps

Skype guru Ahti Heinla and Microlink and Delfi founder Rainer Nolvak put cutting-edge IT technology and 40,000 volunteers to work on May 3 to clean-up the tiny Baltic Sea state of Estonia.

Heinla and Nolvak used special software based on Google Earth, positioning software for mobile phones and mobile phones with GPS to map and take images of illegal garbage dumps across the country. "The aim is not just to clean the fields and forest from the enormous amount of garbage but we also wish to kind of clean the brains of those people who have left that garbage in nature," Tiina Urm, a spokeswoman for the cleanup campaign said.

The innovative software also brings the massive garbage collection campaign virtually into living rooms where Estonians can follow its real-time progress, organizers said.

Dubbed "Teeme Ara 2008", the campaign covers all 45,227 square kilometers of Estonia that won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has since developed a major IT industry. The project aims to recycle 80% of the estimated 10,000 tons of garbage in illegal dumps.

A map of the garbage dumps can be seen at: http://www.teeme2008.ee/?op=body=55

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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