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World Environment Day 5 June 2023: Beat Plastic Pollution- Clean Up Walk

Today on World Environment Day, which carries the theme 'Beat Plastic Pollution', we are resharing the story about the trash cleanup activity from last December as an example to show the importance of involving migrant communities in environmental efforts and that migrants can also be good stewards respecting the environment in the countries they move to.

web trashapackers IOM oprumenPeople were enthusiastically cleaning up in the Schilderswijk

Last December, together with the World House in The Hague, IOM The Netherlands organized a trash cleanup walk in The Schilderswijk - one of The Hague's densest and most diverse neighbourhoods. During the event, more than 40 bags of trash were collected by migrants, local neighbours and IOM staff combined.

The World House (Dutch: ‘Wereldhuis’) is an information and advisory centre for migrants in an irregular situation and an important partner of IOM in the city of The Hague. They moved to this neighbourhood shortly before the event. They agreed to partner with IOM in the endeavour to reach out to their new neighbours as well as make a positive contribution to the environment. The event was successful and attracted a mixed group of local community members and visitors to the World House, who were joined by IOM and World House staff and volunteers.

IOM Warme lunch gemaakt door bezoekers van het Wereldhuis in Den HaagWarm lunch prepared by visitors of the Wereldhuis in The Hague.Before going into the winter cold to hunt for trash, the group enjoyed a communal lunch and instructions were shared. The participants were divided into sub-groups and given a map indicating which streets to go to look for trash, to ensure there was no overlap. One of the organizers and IOM staff Olivier Sprée, made sure that everyone was equipped with gloves, bags, and claw grabbers. He commented: “It is great to see that everyone is so committed today. We didn’t know what to expect, but the turnout is definitely positive.”

Lizebeth Melse, Coordinator of the World House agrees: “At the World House we advocate for the basic rights of migrants in an irregular situation, for example, access to medical care. With this event, we were able to show that they can really add something to the neighbourhood, too.” Mr. Mesia is a regular visitor of the World House and helped to promote the activity among migrant networks. He was very positive about the event from the start: “We can arrange such an event any time.”

web Deelnemers trashpackers IOMParticipants with the loot from the cleanup action.