Imagine waking up in the morning. Instead of making breakfast, you head out into the streets, scavenging through litter and accumulated waste to find food and clothing for your family. You then head to the local dump where you pick through the waste looking for any discarded items that you can reuse or sell.
This is the harsh reality for millions of people around the world.
A recent study indicates there are over 3 billion people worldwide without access to basic waste management services. This figure is projected to grow to over 5 billion by the year 2050!
Despite this, there are only a handful of specialized waste management organizations working in the development and humanitarian sectors.
There is an enormous need for a waste management industry that not only minimizes negative social and environmental impacts, but facilitates employment and business opportunities that can be found in waste.
For a number of years, I have considered the most efficient way to connect the waste management industry in developed nations with developing countries, and how to connect to key development and humanitarian organizations that already exist around the world.
And so, WasteAid was launched.
WasteAid aims to provide technical expertise to communities in developing countries so that community members can develop waste management practices that are socially, environmentally and economically responsible. Through pilot projects, WasteAid will develop best practices that can adopted by other communities experiencing similar challenges. In time, we would also like to develop the ability to deliver environmental advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged communities.
In a few short months, we have established a board made up of exceptional professionals from Canada, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom. Our Council of Reference is growing in numbers, and we have had a number of people and businesses already committing their time and expertise to help establish WasteAid and its programs. This fall, WasteAid will be promoting its projects at various waste management conferences in North America and Europe.
Currently, WasteAid is being incorporated in Canada. We will then incorporate elsewhere to provide us with a broader, international presence.
We are looking for supporters as we incorporate and move towards implementing projects. With your help, we can get WasteAid off the ground. An annual membership includes two newsletters, the opportunity to help us decide which projects are best suited to our help, and the opportunity to be included in a “members only” community. One hundred percent of your donation will be used to start making an impact among some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.
So next time you are travelling internationally and you see excessive litter, stockpiles of unwanted waste, and scavenging for basic necessities, ask yourself: does it have to be this way?
With concentrated effort and your support, WasteAid aims to empower communities to manage waste, thereby improving the environment and their lives.
About this guest blogger:
Simon Penney worked initially for the Government of Guernsey in public health and went on to be awarded a Masters of Science in Wastes Management from the University of Sunderland UK as well as becoming professionally qualified as a Chartered Waste Manager (similar to a P. Eng). He has worked for nearly 20 years at local, regional, national and international level in environmental management. He has worked in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe and has travelled to South America. He is currently leading efforts to establish a new international charity to assist poor communities to deal with the impacts of poorly managed wastes. Simon worked in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. He has been a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in the UK, a Chartered Environmentalist (member of the Chartered Society for the Environment) and he is a Director for the Yukon and BC chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).