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The brazilian community saying no to plastic pollution

By Tearfund | 05 Jun 2018

It’s been fifty years since Rildo Wandray was able to swim in the river that runs through his neighbourhood in the suburbs of Recife, Brazil.

Photos: Moisés Lopes/Tearfund

It’s been 50 years since Rildo Wandray was able to swim in the river that runs through his neighbourhood in the suburbs of Recife, Brazil.

When he was a boy he was able to bathe in the Tejipió River with his friends. But now the water is filthy. Clogged with plastic bottles and wrappers, it floods at least once a year, destroying lives, homes and possessions. Rildo and the other residents of Coqueiral have no formal waste collection, so their rubbish ends up dumped in the river or on the roadside.

Dreams for the future
‘I would swim whilst my friends would fish. It was a nice river, now it is dead,’ Rildo says, ‘I want to make a difference and this project is helping me learn about the issues.’

The 64-year-old dreams of being able to swim in the river once again. Thanks to Tearfund and our church partners, Instituto Solidare, it may soon be possible.

Tearfund is funding projects that collect the neighbourhood’s rubbish and recycle it. Local women are given jobs turning the discarded plastic into bags, purses and ornaments. They’re then sold on to help fund their work.

Changing attitudes
The work in Coqueiral is more than just that though. Pastors are preaching in church about plastic, children at youth groups are being taught about the environmental impact and encouraged to take that message home to their parents. Residents are equipped to campaign for local government to take action, and their lobbying work has already convinced politicians to invest more in the area.

Rildo Wandray beside the river where he used to swim

Rildo Wandray beside the river where he used to swim

President of Instituto Solidare, Pastor José Marcos da Silva, says: ‘The river should be a life blood for the community. We need to recover the river!

‘Thank God people are becoming more aware of the impact.’

And Rildo adds: ‘I hope to be able to swim in the river again before I die and I want to see it clean for my grandchildren’.

Please pray

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Written by Tearfund

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