The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined what we call eco-consciousness. Ever since confinement started, the world has witnessed significant changes in the earth’s ecosystem. Air pollution concentrations have decreased, Venice’s water canals are clearer than ever before, and dolphins have started reappearing in the waters of southern Italy. This shows how changes in human actions can go a long way in protecting our environment. Young Jordanian Nerissa Abu Hanna decided to create De-litter, an initiative that aims at clearing the streets of Jordan from discarded face masks and gloves.
Who is Nerissa Abu Hanna?
If you go to Abu Hanna’s Instagram page, you will see vast and colorful pictures stretched across her profile. As a recent architecture graduate from German Jordanian University with experience to creative fields of design, film making, and photography, she’s got art running through her veins. Abu Hanna admits, “I’m the kind of person that loves to reflect on things. So naturally, these fields help me do that. Especially photography.” Her love for reflection and photography prompted her to use the latter as a way to raise attention to human actions. And it was also then when Abu Hanna decided to take matters into her own hands and form her initiative: De-litter.
The story behind De-litter
“Unfortunately, as humans we tend to litter. And I know its time we correct that,” expressed Abu Hanna as she told us how her initiative came to mind. It took a walk to a supermarket to notice the wide spread of blue and white on the pavements and streets of Jordan. Aware of the environmental impact this causes, Abu Hanna grabbed a bag and a trash picker, not knowing this was the start of something big. When she posted a picture of the 197 gloves and 11 masks she collected, her followers reached out and asked if they could lend a hand. Later on, she created an Instagram page to commemorate her “walks with a purpose”. “These walks were a disruption,” Abu Hanna said. “Some people joined, helped, and chatted with each other while maintaining a safe distance, of course. And others began questioning their actions.”
The silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the decrease in pollution. Human patterns and behaviors have significantly changed, and many people have become more eco-conscious. Abu Hanna reflected on this topic by explaining that she has great hopes for the future. “The biggest lesson COVID-19 has taught all of us is that a virus cannot differentiate between the rich and poor, a citizen, or a refugee. It was the wake up call we needed to change human behavior for the wellbeing of society and the environment,” she concluded.
Lastly, Abu Hanna shares some advice to all talented Jordanians out there. She urges everyone to simply start making small positive changes that would positively impact their neighborhood and environment as a whole. This means that everyone should avoid littering, begin recycling, ditch plastic bags if possible, and reduce trash if you can. If Abu Hanna had not started her De-litter initiative, she would have never known how impactful it would become. No matter how small your actions are towards the environment, they can still make a big and positive impact.