It is Mother Earth’s birthday and it needs looking after, as we need to leave a better world for our children, said horticulturist Tofiq Pasha.
Commenting on the theme of this year’s World Earth Day – end plastic pollution – he said that eradicating plastic pollution is easily doable but for that every individual needs to take a step forward as every individual owes mother nature.
He was speaking at Pakistan’s first urban forest park in Clifton to commemorate World Earth Day on Sunday. “It’s not only trees that make up the Earth but water, soil, fire and air and every aspect is bleeding as we have ruined them badly,” he lamented.
Shoaib Shamsi, an alumni of a boarding school in Abbotabad, who had joined the forest plantation project, said that this day requires our urgency and that the planet is crying out and telling us that we are not doing things to protect it. According to him, we need to take steps so that the Earth cools down and stops showing its anger towards us.
At the event there was a stall for Garbage Can – a sustainable waste management company. According to its founder and CEO, Ahmad Shabbar, users can give them a call to pick up recyclable garbage.
“A majority of people and organisations donate their garbage that can be recycled but if anyone wants to sell it, then we purchase it,” he explained, adding that aluminium cans, paper, cardboard and all types of plastics have a lot of monetary value as they can be recycled.
Shabbar, while quoting Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Director Dr AD Sajnani, said that the current solid waste amount produced by the city is 12,000 tons a day and barely 60% is being picked up. “The projected solid waste amount by 2020 is 16,000 tons a day.”
Charter president of the Rotary Club of Karachi, Dr Heeralal Lohano, said that it is high time to convert deforestation into forestation. He added that a clean environment would reduce a number of diseases.
A student of Karachi Grammar School, Alinah Qureshi, said that it is a great and innovative idea to take people on board for this important project with environmental implications like learning about composting, recycling, or planting trees. Her brother Daniyal added that it may be small but it is a vital step to create awareness among the masses. “We should save our energy resources for the upcoming generations,” the young student remarked.
An entrepreneur, Usman Siddiqui, who had come to plant trees, which was the most popular activity of the event, with his wife and three young children said that it feels satisfying to plant a tree as they need to let people know the importance of tree cover. “It’s Rs950 to plant a sapling and it would be really great if these saplings planted by my children survive in the coming years.”
Trashit – a company producing organic compost – also had a stall and its co-founders Rahul Rai and Anusha Fatima were answering people’s queries about the company. “Our nutritious 10 kilogramme bag of compost is worth Rs1,500 and is made up of 15kg of recycled organic waste,” explained Rai, who said they balanced the composition of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous in the compost.
The organiser of the event, Shahzad Qureshi, said that we need to resolve on this day to address environmental issues and to address the issue of plastic that takes hundreds of years to decompose and poses serious threats to living beings on this planet.