A community effort to save the environment from the pollution caused by the accumulation of solid waste

Shereen Shlar,Solid Waste Removal Idlib ©UNDP

As the crisis persists in its fourth year, causing further deterioration of socio-economic situation, Syria is now the world's leader in forced displacement, with 9 million people having fled their homes, 6.5 million of whom are displaced within the country. The Syrian governorates have overflowed with IDPs, which have caused severe pressure on the available resources and weakened the social services.


Idlib has witnessed the harshest battles between the conflicted parties. The deteriorated security situation and access problems especially in the rural areas have led in effect, to a dramatic increase in the humanitarian caseload reflected in the recurrent displacement influxes within the governorate, where it approximately hosts 708,000 IDPs. The IDPs influx is from neighboring governorates, such as Hama, Rural Damascus, Aleppo, and Lattakia, as well as from within Idlib, which has increased the accumulation of solid waste, causing a serious environmental pollution and spread of various epidemics and diseases.


These conditions have promoted UNDP in its emergency response programme to scale up its early recovery and resilience interventions targeting the most affected neighborhoods in Idlib governorate by providing job opportunities in the field of solid waste removal to a number of affected IDPs and host community members.


This initiative has created job opportunities for approximately 165 workers whose livelihoods were severely disrupted. Shereen Shlar was one of the female workers who had to flee with her ill husband and her children from the devastating situation in Homs and took refuge in Idlib Governorate.


In her critical situation with a husband who suffers from neurological brain disease, and three young children, Shereen; the breadwinner of her family, started to work in cleaning the houses and buildings’ stairs, but this unstable income wasn’t enough to fulfill her family’s basic needs.


Shereen joined the solid waste removal project in Idlib since its second week, working 8 hours a day in a field she believed would bring effective health results to the community, through reducing the environmental pollution and the spread of epidemics and diseases.


When I look to other women begging for money in the streets, I feel pleased by working in this project,” she said adding, “This project has saved my dignity and introduced me to other people who share the same problems and worries with me, so we can provide support to each other”.


The project has provided a stable income to Shereen and the other workers, enabled her to continue sending her children to the school, and enhanced her livelihoods significantly.

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