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Litter pickers in Pakistan turning the tide on waste

On World Oceans Day, Tearfund Pakistan staff organised a litter pick to raise awareness of the harms of unmanaged waste.

Written by Agnes McGrane | 01 Aug 2022

Four people in Tearfund shirts collecting litter

Credit: Manoj Kumar/Tearfund

Millions of people living in poverty are forced to live among huge piles of rubbish. They often resort to burning waste as they have no other way to dispose of it. This is causing respiratory problems and sickness, as well as polluting the environment and contributing to the climate crisis. 

To address this problem in Pakistan, Tearfund has been equipping people to safely dispose of their waste in a way that protects both themselves and the environment. 

Empowering communities

Our team has been working with local authorities to set up two Haryali hubs (recycling units) in some of the poorest communities. Each recycling hub serves more than 6,000 households, and collects, treats and recycles solid waste.

As well as clearing waste and improving the health of communities, these hubs are providing jobs for people and helping them to lift themselves out of poverty. 

Raising awareness


To mark World Oceans Day, Tearfund staff organised a litter pick at a beach close to the communities they are working with in Karachi. Members of the community, as well as environmental activists and beach visitors, joined in with the cleaning campaign and learned about how to dispose of and recycle waste appropriately. 
 
People collecting plastic waster and litter on a beach

Tearfund staff and volunteers collect plastic waste and other litter from the beach. Credit: Manoj Kumar/Tearfund

The event was a great opportunity to talk to people about the importance of caring for the environment, while also making a practical difference by collecting and properly disposing of the litter scattered along the shore. 

‘The litter pick was a great success,’ says Jonathan Johnson, who leads Tearfund’s work in Pakistan. 

‘This is the second time the team have done a community litter pick. It always helps to bring people together and raise awareness of how waste is causing problems for communities and the environment. And we will continue to empower people to manage the waste in their own communities.’ 

A group of people in Tearfund shirts walking together holding a sign

Tearfund staff and volunteers walk with a banner to raise awareness of World Oceans Day and the importance of protecting the environment. Credit: Manoj Kumar/Tearfund

Pick and pray?

Over the summer, why not arrange a litter pick with your family, friends or church in your own community?

In many places across the UK, you can borrow litter picking tools and bin bags from your local council. Remember to bring gloves with you – and if you are doing this through your church, you may need to carry out a risk assessment.

Before, after, or on the walk, find some time to pray together. 

Pray with us

  • Lament over the injustice that many people who are living in poverty don’t have access to rubbish collections and are exposed to significant health risks, often keeping them trapped in poverty.
  • Pray for new initiatives around the world – like the ones Tearfund runs in Pakistan – which will help people understand the impact of waste on health and the environment and offer new jobs and solutions for mismanaged waste.
  • Praise God for the glory of creation and commit yourself again to God’s calling for us to care for the environment (Genesis 1:26-28).

Written by

Written by  Agnes McGrane

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