New campaign highlights the human cost of our global plastic waste crisis

New campaign highlights the human cost of our global plastic waste crisis

Launched by Tearfund Australia, The Rubbish Campaign is a new effort calling on Australian Christians to address ‘the urgent waste crisis’ that the non-profit says is making poverty worse for vulnerable communities around the world. 

According to the Department of Agriculture, Water, and Environment, Australia now produces 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year.

While the global conversation around waste and plastic pollution has accelerated, so has the impact of plastic pollution, and the human cost to this issue has largely been ignored and un-reported.

According to Tearfund, mismanaged waste is responsible for up to a million deaths each year.

In the slum communities of Mumbai where Tearfund’s partner Saahasee works, rubbish is a problem. 

Poonam Nair is from Tearfund’s partner Saahasee in India.

“People literally don’t have a place to put their garbage…it’s become normal practice to put plastic waste in the drains. The ramification is that most of the time these drains are blocked,” she said.

“Because people are moving from rural areas towards the city in search of work, the population is increasing every month, so plastic pollution is also increasing. The waste that collects all over the community is impacting health.”

During 2023 and 2024, nearly 200 governments are meeting to develop the first-ever international agreement on plastic pollution.

Australia committed to address plastic pollution by joining the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution. 

The Tearfund petition calls on the Australian Government to do all it can to influence global negotiations and ensure that this plastics treaty helps end the world’s rubbish problem.

Tearfund CEO Matthew Maury said Australian households could re-frame this issue from an environmental emergency to a social emergency that is costing human lives.

“God has blessed us with a beautiful world to look after and treasure. But right now, our world has a rubbish problem – and it’s severely affecting the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty,” he said.

“A concerted global effort is needed to address this problem and deal with the scourge of plastic pollution and its impacts on poverty. The plastics treaty is a unique opportunity to do this.”

You can sign up to Tearfund Australia’s petition here.


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