Around the world, about 2 billion people live without any waste collection at all. A further billion have no means to get rid of their waste safely. This is dangerous for people’s health and damaging to the environment.
For the Lent Appeal in 2019, Tearfund asked for help to make a difference in the lives of people all around the world, with a particular focus on this pressing waste problem. The UK government agreed to give up to £3 million in match funding to go directly to this kind of work in Pakistan and Haiti. This match funding was then boosted to £4 million by a generous Tearfund supporter, which meant that after Gift Aid was added, we raised an incredible total of £8,884,768!
Picking up plastic in Pakistan
In Pakistan, £2 million of the UK Aid Match funding has helped to set up two waste collection and recycling centres in the Sindh region. This is helping create a cleaner environment for people living there. It also provides much-needed jobs for many in the slum communities – giving them a vital source of income – and helps protect people from diseases which thrive when waste isn’t properly dealt with.
As part of the project, tens of thousands of people in the region have received training in how to manage waste from their homes and businesses in a way that is safer for them and the environment. This is helping to reduce waste being dumped in rivers (where it kills wildlife and makes water unsafe to drink) or burned (which releases toxic gases that increase the risk of heart disease; aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema; and can cause rashes, nausea, headaches and damage to the nervous system).
‘I am so happy to be a part of this campaign to establish a recycling unit and make our streets and environment clean and green,’ smiles Salma*, who lives with her family in one of the areas where plastic waste is now being turned into new products and kitchen waste is being made into compost. ‘We never thought that kitchen waste could be recycled into green products!’ Salma explains how the area where they live used to smell really bad, with everyone dumping their waste on the streets. Now, people have been shown how to separate their waste so it can be easily recycled, and the waste is collected daily.