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A cleaner, greener hope for people in Haiti and Pakistan

See how your support is helping people in Pakistan and Haiti to have cleaner, greener, healthier living spaces.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 25 Feb 2022

Image Credit: Manoj Kumar/Tearfund

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.

‘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!’
Salma, Pakistan

As part of our waste management projects in Pakistan, organic waste is collected and turned into compost | Photo credit: Manoj Kumar/Tearfund

Healthier home environments in Haiti

The first 18 months of the UK Aid Match project in Haiti have already enabled more than 4,600 people in Carrefour to benefit from a weekly waste collection service. This is run through our local partner, Arris-Desrosiers, and is on track to be serving 15,000 people in the area by September 2023! Families contribute a small fee to sign up to the service, they then receive two small buckets to sort their waste into and are trained to do this safely and effectively. The waste is then collected twice a week. The organic matter is made into compost and the plastic is saved to be turned into useful items such as paving tiles or bricks.

As the reach of the project grows, it is making the environment safer and cleaner and also providing vital employment opportunities for many people within the community.

Theonide is a teacher who has been subscribing to the waste-collection service for just over a year now. She describes how things used to be, telling us, ‘When it rained, it was catastrophic! Piles of waste were everywhere.’ But now, most people in Theonides’ community are signed up to the service and the neighbourhood is cleaner and healthier. 

Theonide has been very vocal in sharing with her neighbours about the importance of proper waste management. ‘When the waste stays at home and begins to decompose,’ she explains, ‘we start to get maggots and the waste becomes toxic.’ She says, ‘I am happy to be a part of this programme. It is useful for me and it is useful for the community.’

Theonide, a teacher from Haiti, is vocal in sharing with her neighbours about the importance of proper waste management | Photo credit: Jonathan D. Clément/Tearfund

You can watch a small film about Theonide here.

Waste work

At the one year mark, we’ve seen just under 150 tonnes of solid waste collected from households and responsibly dealt with – preventing it from being dumped or burned in the open. We’re also well underway with a three-year-long health research survey, studying the impacts of solid waste management on environmental and health risk factors in Carrefour. This is being carried out in partnership with researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Haitian Ministry of Health.

Thank you

Thank you to every supporter who gave, raised money or prayed. Thank you also to the UK government Aid Match initiative. You are helping to change the lives and futures of people in Pakistan, Haiti and all around the world.

*Name has been changed for protection

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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