Trash Problem Pushes Pastor to Action

A Honduran church leads the way in local garbage collection while praying for an international plastic treaty.

A banner hangs outside the Church of God in the village of El Rincón, Honduras, that says, “Let’s be part of the solution, not the pollution.”

It’s a message pastor Wilfredo Vásquez posted after witnessing the harmful effects of plastics in his community.

“More and more, I understand that if we want to see changes in any area of society, we as children of God must take the initiative for those changes, because the church is the hope of the world,” he told CT.

Vásquez, who shepherds the Wesleyan-Arminian congregation in the Central American town of about 4,000 people, has started taking steps to help his community and hopes world leaders will do the same by establishing an international treaty on plastic.

From April 23 to 29, delegates from around the world met in Ottawa for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-4). It’s the fourth stage in a five-stage process working toward an agreement that has the potential to change how plastic is handled globally.

If passed, experts believe it could have a similar impact on plastic usage as the Montreal Protocol of 1987 had on chemicals such as freon.

While the final stage of the process isn’t until November in South Korea, after the most recent round of discussions in Canada, delegates from more than 150 countries agreed to begin intercessional work. Right away, delegates will start meeting to develop ways to identify plastic products and chemicals of concern.

In El Rincón, 3,600 miles away from the latest round of discussions, Vásquez is praying for the treaty’s passage.

Vásquez knows exactly what’s at stake and what a difference even …

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