LAHORE: In order to raise awareness on water management and kitchen gardening in kachi abadis and slums of Lahore, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) plan to launch an awareness campaign.
UNESCO’s focal person for population planning Shaista Perwez Malik, MNA, will facilitate varsity in this regard. LCWU Vice Chancellor Dr Uzma Qureshi, while commenting on the project, said the project would be made part of the Active Citiznship Programme (ACP) which was successfully being run in LCWU.
“Pure drinking water is a major problem particularly in slums where people are facing this dilemma at its extreme. Under the project, faculty and students of LCWU will focus kachi abadis of Lahore and will educate people on good use of water. Techniques will be delivered on how to store and purify water through simple methods,” she said.
LCWU all set to become a ‘smart university’
Dr Uzma said people would be briefed on self-reliance in food production. “Kitchen gardening is a very useful way to gain healthy and economic food. LCWU is producing organic food for the staff for many years,” she said.
Mentioning the importance of kitchen gardening, LCWU head of biotechnology department Dr Shugfta Naz said consumption of organically grown food was a great way to reduce exposure to contaminants commonly found in foods that had been grown using conventional agricultural practices.
“These contaminants may include not only pesticides - many of which have been classified potential carcinogenic but also heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and solvents like benzene and toluene.
Minimising exposure to these potential toxins is an important benefit for our health. Heavy metals can damage nervous system, contributing to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and interfere with hemoglobin production in a way that increases risk of anemia blood cell function and lower the immune system's ability to resist infections,” she added.
Head of Zoology department Dr Farkhanda said in order to lessen exposure to potentially harmful substances, organically grown foods, on average, contained higher levels of many nutrients including vitamins and minerals.
Dr Uzma said British Council Pakistan and LCWU were implementing Active Citizens Programme as a 4-credit hour mandatory course for undergraduate female students.
LCWU wants ideal working conditions
“Programme completion certificates are awarded to the students who complete their social action projects as per the mutually agreed criteria.
For this purpose, LCWU under the auspices of Directorate of Faculty Development and Internationalisation signed an MoU with the British Council Pakistan five years back to launch the British Council Active Citizens Programme (ACP) at LCWU as a pilot project in a public sector university,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2017.
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