There are very few people who don’t like a bargain. So how about this for an excellent offer; until 17 May, donations to Tearfund’s Matched Giving Appeal will be doubled by the UK government, up to £2 million.
This funding will be used by Tearfund’s partners in Pakistan to set up recycling hubs and improve the lives of people in the poorest slum communities.
Plastic pollution is devastating the health and local environment of countless people in the slum communities of Pakistan, and making living conditions even worse.
Pakistan generates a massive 20 million tonnes of rubbish every year, up to half of which is uncollected. Due to this desperate lack of waste collection, rubbish builds up on the streets. Children play among it, suffering cuts and burns. People set fire to the rubbish in an effort to clear the streets, but this results in fumes that pollute the air and are harmful to breathe.
Rubbish blocks up the waterways too, causing homes to flood and creating pools of stagnant water where disease-carrying mosquitoes thrive. People’s health suffers, limiting their ability to work and pushing them deeper into poverty.
The recycling centres that will be created with the support of UK government match funding are called Haryali Hubs. The word ‘haryali’ means ‘green’ in the local language.
Located in the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad, each hub will provide up to 2,000 families with the waste collection services they desperately need. As rubbish is collected, less will be set alight, and so each hub will prevent up to 3 tonnes (3,000 kg) of waste per day from being burnt and releasing toxic fumes.
Each of the Haryali Hubs will process up to six tonnes of waste a day and prevent as much as 200 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean each year. As plastic and other waste is collected, sorted, and then recycled or disposed of sustainably, less will end up in waterways.
In this way, the Haryali Hubs will help make the air cleaner to breathe and the streets safer in the slum communities of Sindh.
Each hub will also provide around 25 jobs for local community members. They will be trained to earn a sustainable and meaningful living by helping collect or process waste. Crucially, vulnerable people such as women and people living with disabilities will be prioritised. Over 40% of all rubbish is not collected.
A gift of £45, matched by the UK Government could train two waste collectors like Mumtaz and Beenish (above). One of the things they love most about the job is that they are with each other all day.
‘We work together and come back home together as well,’ says Mumtaz. ‘It feels good. We get up between 3:30am and 3:45am. We wash our hands and faces, pray to God, then go to work. Mumtaz knocks on peoples’ doors and asks for their rubbish and Beenish takes it in a wheelbarrow to a point where it is sorted. If people don’t have any rubbish she says they will come back the next day.
‘After work, we have dinner and enjoy fun times with our grandchildren. Then we rest. I like it,’ adds Beenish. ‘We used to go very far to work, but this work is in our neighbourhood.’
Please pray for the success of the project and that people in the UK will give towards it.
For more information see www.tearfund.org