A well-designed sign saying “It is Trafford not Trashford” was secured next to one of the entrances of Hullard park, old Trafford this Sunday the 19th of December.

It had been placed by environmental improvement manager Mark Dale. It expressed the voices and view of the residents of Trafford who are frustrated with constant littering and fly tipping in streets, public spaces and even their own back alleys.

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Mr Dale had arrived at Hullard park to meet volunteers from ASEZ who were carrying out one of their world-wide clean up campaigns. Not too long after they were joined by Councillor Lawrence Walsh the Mayor of Trafford, and they had both come to meet the volunteers.

ASEZ WAO stands for “Save the earth from A to Z” and is composed of young adult workers from the World Mission Society Church of God. Through various voluntary initiatives they are making efforts to practically implement and achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals to realise a peaceful and sustainable earth for all.

Sunday’s clean-up was a meaningful day as it was the 6600th worldwide clean-up campaign and came just after the group had been awarded the Green Apple Award, Green World Award and been appointed as Green ambassadors at the green apple environmental awards for their “No more GPGP project” and “Green workplace project” in November.

The event started with the volunteers giving a warm round of applause to the Trafford Mayor who also a volunteer himself considers volunteering and the community very important.

Mr Walsh then proceeded to give a speech. He thanked the volunteers for the work that they were doing and commented on the Great Pacific garbage patch which he himself had come to know about through ASEZ WAO’s “No more GPGP project” as “nothing short of an environmental disaster”.

Mr Walsh linked the GPGP issue back to fly tipping, one its causes, and went on to say that the volunteers were bringing that issue close to home. Mr Walsh himself growing up in Old Trafford cherishes the area as precious and wants it to keep it that way. He said that the volunteers “are making a great difference in this local community” and that they were “setting the best example for all of our residents to follow.”

After thanking the volunteers for the work they were about to carry out and also Mark Dale for his contribution as well he was met by another round of applause.

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The volunteers then got to work, clearing up the area known as the “triangle. “The triangle consists of the area encapsulated by Henrietta Street, Shrewsbury Street and Ayres Road and is notorious for fly tipping.

They split into groups and started along Henrietta Street and went down into the side roads beginning with Stamford Street. Straight away they were faced with large amounts of litter along the streets and fly tipped items stacked up against walls and piled up in alleys.

The volunteers diligently picked up and carried the items to the collection point one by one. They were unable to feel their fingers despite wearing gloves due to the cold weather but at the same time sweating from the labour.

Nevertheless, they all were wearing bright smiles as they carried out the work knowing how happy the residents would be and that they were doing a good thing.

Mr Walsh’s speech had encouraged the volunteers to know that the work that they were doing was working.

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He himself had come to know about the Great Pacific garbage patch (which is an 80,000-tonne plastic island, formed by our waste, that has formed in the Pacific Ocean.

It is three times the size of France!) through ASEZ WOAs work. The clean-up was not just about cleaning up but also raising awareness to larger environmental issues that we are currently facing.

ASEZ WAO who carry out their activities in 175 countries have continually found that litter piles up in areas that are either hidden or where someone else has first started to litter, to which Mark Dale concurred.

As a preacher of the broken windows theory himself, (the theory that if people feel that something is not taken care of they also will not but if they feel it is taken care of they also will too) he praised the group for “awakening people.”

He mentioned that the clean-up was more because when people see clean ups taking place they come to think twice about littering. He said such work can bring about a change in people’s thoughts which is really what we need.

It is said that one of the best ways to learn is to follow a good example. Our world is facing a very unpredictable future regarding our environment.

It is a huge problem that is getting worse day by day but is something we all need to work together to solve. Thus, young adults form ASEZ WAO The volunteers carry out their activities with the heart of a mother.

This stems from their belief in God the Mother and means that they carry out their activities with the mind to care for others more than themselves just as a mother cares for her family more than she does for herself.

By setting an example first through projects such as the Worldwide clean-up campaign, No more GPGP, Green Workplace, Mothers forest, Clean mailbox campaign and many others, they hope to encourage and inspire positive change.

By doing so the hope is that we can all work together and implement the UN’s sustainable development goals to realise a peaceful and sustainable future for all of us.

The clean up on Sunday the 19th of December was a great success. After much shivering and sweating the volunteers managed to collect around 75 bags of rubbish and a huge amount of miscellaneous fly tipped items ranging from mattress to carpets and wooden furniture.

It was estimated that a total of 1,250 kg of rubbish was collected which was a personal best for the group. And residents passing by, curious about what was going on, showered the volunteers with compliments and thanks when they found out.

Looking at the mini hill of rubbish collected at the rubbish point one volunteer Ricky Wright said with a big grin:

“I feel satisfied, tired but satisfied. I hope our work can bring about a change of thinking. I’m concerned about the situation, but I really have hope that if enough people know what is going on and what a difference a few changes in our behaviour can make, we can solve the issues we face together and welcome a better future. As the saying goes, the one who changes himself can change the world.”

The volunteers finished the day in good spirits and notified the council so that they could come and collect the rubbish and dispose of it appropriately. As newly appointed green ambassadors the ASEZ WAO volunteers were happy to close 2021 with their 6600th worldwide clean-up campaign being attended by the Mayor of Trafford and look forward to working towards a brighter future in 2022.

ASEZ WAO will continue to stand by Manchester and the World in 2022 and say, “We hope you have a good end to 2021 and a great new year,” “we love you!”