Reducing plastic waste for a healthy planet

Every year plastic waste increases around the world. This year a greater amount is occurring as the consumption of disposable products increases due to the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

Plastic waste that has not been properly disposed enters the sea, polluting the marine ecosystem, and eventually threatening human life. Among the efforts for reduction, the “No More GPGP” project of the World Mission Society Church of God (General Pastor Joo-cheol Kim, hereinafter the Church of God), youth volunteer group ASEZ WAO, attracts attention.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is a huge plastic garbage island located in the Pacific Ocean formed by 1.8 trillion plastic waste items gathered amounting to 80,000 tons. Through this project ASEZ WAO is spreading the message 'No more garbage island' to the world. As part of this, various and specific activities have been continuously carried out such as environmental cleanup movements, panel exhibitions, seminars and forums to promote awareness.

On the 29th of November 2020, the ‘No More GPGP’ project was also held at Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand. Around 20 people including ASEZ WAO members, families and colleagues, collected plastic waste such as disposable cups, straws, plastic bags, etc., around residential areas, bus stops and riversides and thoroughly purified 1.5 km. Through this, 17 garbage bags of 20 liters were gathered.

Dunedin City Hall and the local Countdown supermarket welcomed their volunteer work and provided garbage bags, drinks and snacks.

An official from ASEZ WAO said, “Plastic waste reduction is a task that everyone, including individuals, must solve together. At this time we gathered the will of the members who felt the need for environmental protection as the use of disposable products increased due to COVID-19. I hope that not only members but also our neighbors will join us in creating a healthier planet.”

Andrew (24), member of ASEZ, said, “I'm very happy to be doing volunteer work after a long time in limbo due to COVID. It is rewarding to be working to protect the world's environment by just collecting even small discarded plastics and garbage.” Another member Ashely (29) said, “Many marine animals around the world are dying from plastic trash dumped in the sea, and today we are very happy to collect trash and clean the streets with our friends.”

On the same day around the planet, No More GPGP projects were carried out in Australia, Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Cameroon, Japan and Singapore.

In New Zealand, we have been striving to protect and improve the environment by carrying out clean-up campaigns around the University of Otago in March, as well as in the Leith River, Auckland Rollerson Park Community Gardens, Point England Reserve, Rosedale Park, and Christchurch Riccarton.

ASEZ WAO is an international volunteer organization made up of 7,500 working youths of Church of God in 175 countries around the world.

ASEZ meaning 'Save the Earth from A to Z' and WAO, ‘We Are One Family', they are combined and it means ‘Let us become one family and save the world from start to finish'.

ASEZ WAO is also launching a “heart-to-heart” campaign around the world to encourage those who are striving to overcome COVID-19. They are expressing the gratitude by delivering snacks, handwritten letters, and support kits packed with quarantine supplies to medical staff, police, firefighters, and soldiers in countries such as Korea, the United States, Malaysia, India, the Philippines, Peru, and other places.

In addition, the organization conducts various activities such as educational support, welfare promotion, emergency relief, cultural exchange, response to climate change, plastic reduction, terrestrial ecosystem protection and marine ecosystem protection for the sustainable development of mankind and the planet. The main projects are “No More GPGP”, “Green Workplace” to practice power saving, water saving and conservation in the workplace, and “Mother's Forest” for the global village. ASEZ WAO, which has made such a passionate move, has received citations and plaques of appreciation from the President of the United States, the Vice Minister of Environment of the Philippines, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Mayor of Peru and the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Thanks to God.

 - Scott Evangelou

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