On Sunday (14th February 2021) 27 volunteers from ASEZ WAO from the World Mission Society Church of God gathered in Old Trafford to take part in voluntary work and following social distancing guidelines.

The work to be carried out was a clean-up of the Old Trafford area, which, like many places, has been plagued by an increase of fly tipping and littering during the lockdown, due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

It was the 6444th worldwide clean-up campaign, and the 4th time that they visited the Trafford area as part of their ongoing battle to tackle the littering and fly-tipping in the area.

This activity is one of the many activities that the group are carrying out as they have begun to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The aims of the group are to put into action goals’ number 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and number 17 (life on land).

The UN SDGs were adopted by the United Nations member states in 2015 and combine common goals of the international community for the sustainable development of humanity, to provide a future for the next generations. It contains 17 goals, 169 targets, and 230 indexes that the international community has agreed to implement by 2030 to address a wide range of problems the humanity is facing.

Fly tipping is an eyesore and a health hazard but, it is more than that. Its knock-on effects are hard to measure. It costs millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money to investigate and clear up every year. It greatly affects the local environment, causes businesses to suffer, increases crime and negatively affects the mentality and wellbeing of the people in the area.

“A car with a broken window was left alone. People took away parts of it, such as the battery, radio, and even smashed it. As the car became hideous, crimes began to take place in the area around.” This is the Broken Windows Theory. When people see fly-tipping and rubbish in their area they feel that it is not being taken care of, this can lead them to not care either.

This causes a downward spiral and the area can become more and more run down till eventually it can lead to petty crime growing to more serious crimes. People then begin to avoid these areas and local businesses begin to suffer, customers lose out and people can lose their sense of pride in their community.

A healthy and clean environment is a requisite for a happy life and a beautiful community and is only possible when we make efforts to clean our neighbourhoods’ hand-in-hand. Therefore, with the love of a mother who cares for her household, even down to the smallest details, the volunteers went to work.

Following social distancing practices, the 30 volunteers worked for two hours from 14:00 to 16:00 picking up rubbish ranging from small pieces of litter to festering bin bags, sofas and mattresses. Despite the cold weather, the awkwardness of having to stay two metres apart and the large amount of rubbish in the area they joyfully worked together, collecting a total number of 50 bags of rubbish, as well as various other items estimated at 650 Kg.

One volunteer, Olivia Smith commented: “This is our area, and we take pride in it, we are not going to just let it fall apart or leave the council to do everything, but we will work together to get things fixed. We hope everyone can be encouraged by this and our community can grow stronger”.

The event was a great success, and the rubbish was left at a designated spot for collection by Trafford council. Additionally, the volunteers are also speaking with the council about other methods to stop the problem such as the installation of cameras and fences.

The volunteers hope that through their work, businesses and residents may regain their pride in the area, are encouraged to take part in keeping Trafford and Manchester tidy and also can be inspired to learn and practice the UN SDG’s.

One volunteer Shakira Thomas added: “I know its tough times but let us not forget who we are, we are neighbours, we are a community, let’s not give up on each other and get through this together. “

The volunteers will continue to deliver the love of a mother and work for the benefit of society hoping for a better future that is possible if we all work together. “Cheer up Manchester, we are with you and we love yo