The lights at Mazar-e-Quaid were switched off at 8:30 pm sharp on Saturday but not because of a power outage, instead it was in commemoration of ‘Earth Hour 2012’.
Being celebrated in the country for third time in a row, the worldwide event was organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Sindh government. Supporters of the environment willingly joined the closure of extra lights and appliances in the city for an hour.
“Last year, we managed to save 50 to 52 megawatts of energy in the city,” said the Environment Minister Sheikh Muhammad Afzal, while lighting a white candle. Karachi has been given the title of ‘Earth Hour City’ while Sindh has been declared as the ‘Earth Hour Province’. “By celebrating Earth Hour, we are expressing solidarity with rest of the world against the destruction of global warming and effects of climate change.” Afzal said that Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana were also participating in the event.
The participants, most of whom were from corporate companies, government departments and the WWF, cheered before the clock struck 8:30, lit candles, and sang national songs.
Although Asif Ali Sandeelo, the WWF Indus for All Programme’s communication officer, said that 1,000 people were expected to turn up, around 150 attended the event at Mazar-e-Quaid.
The event is being celebrated in 135 countries with the participation of one billion people, said Sandeelo. Almost 52 landmarks which would switch off their extra lights during the hour were announced, including the Governor House, Sindh secretariat, provincial assembly, Karachi University, NED University, MCB tower, National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Plaza, Park Towers and Dolmen Mall in Clifton.
A cement company’s employee, Rashid Khan, participated in the event with his peers. “We are raising awareness among people to switch off extra lights so that the country can deal with its energy crisis.”
A 12-year-old Hafsa Mehmood also came to show her support for the environment with her family. “I think it is important for everyone to turn off lights which are not in use. We need to save our planet.”
The Dawood Group chairperson, Hussain Dawood, said that everyone has a responsibility to work together for the survival of the planet. Brand ambassador of Earth Hour and acclaimed TV actor, Faisal Qureshi, also participated in the event. “People ask why there is a need to turn off the light when there are power outages everyday but I ask them why not. By doing so, we are fulfilling our duty towards our country and this planet.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.