Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Tearfund home

The brazilian community saying no to plastic pollution

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.

Written by Tearfund | 05 Jun 2018

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

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

  • Praise God for 40 churches already mobilised to work together with the community for a cleaner river and healthier environment.
  • Pray for the campaigns calling on local government to do more. Pray that the voice of the community would be heard and that they would get the support they need.
  • Pray for the success of all the initiatives being put in place so that people can earn a living from waste collection.

Written by

Written by  Tearfund

Share this page

Share this page to spread the word and help support those in need.

Get our email updates

Learn about our work and stay in touch with Tearfund. Hear about our news, activities and appeals by email.

Sign up now - Get our email updates

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.