On Sunday 20th June 2021, a group of over 30 volunteers composed of ASEZ WAO & the World Mission Society Church of God and general volunteers descended upon the Old Trafford area.

Their mission was to carry out the 6487th worldwide clean-up campaign together with the “No more GPGP” project. The purpose was to raise awareness and take action against environmental issues that we are faced with on a local and global scale.

During lockdown fly tipping soared, the council worked hard to try and curb this issue and an increase of maximum fixed penalty notices and fines were sent out.

Old Trafford has been hit hard by fly tipping which has created a downward spiral in the environment bringing rats and other pests into the area, as well as a rise in crime.

The volunteers took a stand against the issue a few months into lockdown with socially distanced clean up campaigns around Old Trafford. People kept fly tipping the newly tidied areas, nevertheless, the volunteers continued to carry out clean-up campaigns.

Trafford Council have recently installed cameras in the area to catch and prosecute offenders. Thanks to the volunteers unceasing efforts the area is now being rejuvenated step by step. However, littering is not simply a local issue, it is a global one.

The G7 environmental ministers gathered virtually this year in May. At the summit they made a joint statement recognising that the health of our oceans was critical to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of both the planet and people, as well as regulating our climate. However, they acknowledge that the health of our oceans was under serious threat from human actions.

One of the human actions mentioned refers to marine litter, especially in the form of plastics, whilst jointly recognising the urgency and scale of the action needed to tackle this issue. It was also acknowledged that inadequate management of land-based litter is one of the contributing factors. Simply put, the rubbish we dispose of carelessly can end up in the oceans.

There are numerous problems caused by the waste we create, especially by plastic waste, and one of these is creating the GPGP (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). The GPGP is a collection of debris, mainly of different types of plastics, that weighs around 80,000 tonnes and is found in the Pacific Ocean.

Rubbish that is not disposed of properly is gathering in the ocean and is causing a detrimental effect to the ecosystem and environment. It is an issue that affects both marine life and us.

ASEZ WAO means “Save the World from A to Z as We Are One family.” It was established by young working people to save the earth, humankind and our home. AZEZ WAO aims to do so by promoting change through altruistic deeds and share the love of Mother, so that we and our future generations may have a home to live in.

The term “love of a Mother” comes from the Church of God’s belief in God the Mother. They embody this heart and mind to carry out their volunteer activities. With this mindset ASEZ WAO is striving to resolve the plastic rubbish issue through the ‘No more GPGP’ project.

The project involves three steps. One – raising awareness of environmental issues. Two – taking action. Three – making partnerships with companies, governments and international organisations to sign MOU’s of cooperation and prevent the formation of other garbage patches.

The volunteers have been acting by recycling plastics, using reusable cups and mugs at their workplaces, using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags, and picking up plastic waste. And as part of this action, they went to work on Sunday.

Maintaining social distancing practices, the volunteers worked joyfully with the love a Mother, picking up rubbish with litter pickers and bags provided by Trafford council. They worked together to carry larger items such as mattresses, doors, fridges and armchairs which had been dumped recently. They also made efforts to reassemble fences as a deterrent for future incidents.

As part of the ‘No more GPGP’ project the volunteers separated plastic waste from regular waste and put it into different coloured bags. This helps the collectors to distinguish the rubbish type so that it may be easily designated and recycled.

In total about 75 bags of rubbish was collected, 10 of which comprised of plastics. On top of these, four mattresses, a mini fridge, several tyres, rubble, a few doors, some tabletops, and other miscellaneous items brought the total weight to an estimated 1,000kg, which was a group record.

Earth and mankind are faced with numerous environmental and social challenges that are affecting the livelihood of our and future generations, but the solution lies in each of us.

“Mother’s love” is needed the most. Each person is the smallest unit of human society. When a person changes, their family will change; their community, city, and country will change; and then the world will change. We are all different and come from different backgrounds and circumstances, however if everyone thinks of others’ rather than just themselves, like a mother does, then we can solve all of the problems together and live in peace and happiness.

The ultimate purpose of the UN SDGs is to bring peace and happiness to mankind. ASEZ WAO and the Church of God supports accomplishing the UN SDGs in cooperation with international organisations, governments and institutions of many countries, communities, and people from all walks of life.

By changing ourselves first and carrying out voluntary activities to improve our local areas and neighbourhoods we can raise people’s awareness and practically implement the SDG’s. By doing so we can make a difference.

Volunteer Olivia Smith commented:

“Its great volunteering with ASEZ WAO, also getting to work with the council and other likeminded volunteers who join our activities too. I hope more people can volunteer, especially if younger people, like myself, get involved. We can’t do it all on our own but, if we all do our bit well, then, problem solved, right?”

Through the continuous efforts of the volunteers and support from Trafford council, the area of Old Trafford that was once deteriorating into a serious “environmental problem” is being changed through mother’s love. It is now becoming an area where residents are not scared to go jogging or walk through. A great success story for the positive results of volunteer and council unity to improve local neighbourhoods.

Though Covid 19 has put our lives on pause for a while we still have our future and children’s future ahead of us and need to work together to make it bright.

ASEZ WAO and the Church of God volunteers will continue to carry out a variety of voluntary activities and work hand in hand with the council on other ventures, to do their part in implementing the UN SDG’s and in addressing societal issues both locally and globally. Hoping to work together for a bright future for ourselves and our future generations with the love of a Mother the Church of God says: “We love you Manchest