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For a Green Pakistan

Submitted by on September 26, 2012 – 8:12 PM 14 Comments

Pakistan is loaded with billboards reading a very loud green slogan: Keep your city clean, keep your city green. Now I wanted to work some strategies out for a greener perspective. Since green means more, better and cheaper perhaps much like how to go green. The 3 R’s of environmental protection; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are to be advocated. Development of ecological intelligence for understanding of how nature sustains life may help us practice sustainable living, which in these times should be of growing interest.

In order to go green, you need to think green; probably greener. Here are a few steps towards the color of new life:

The 3 R’s:                        

Can Pakistan reduce its impact on the environment? I’m thinking deodorants, beef, clothes and gadgets. Reduce waste, for example, reduction in paper consumption. Partners in green are advised to print less, email more and change margins on the word document to reduce paper usage by 5%.  Reduce energy consumption and Reuse. Living in dorms for 4 years has landed me a doctorate in Green Studies. My mother called me the queen of clutter bearing witness to my colossal collection of plastics and various paper goods. Also in the running is Recycling soul. Oprah Winfrey preached how to choose smart off the shelves and recycle goods as much as we can. Some simple ways can help our environment and prevent global warming by convenient implementation without any expense.

Act Green:

Acting green would mean increasing awareness of environmental issues that affect the future of the planet. Spread Green, join a Green program or hold one to educate the community.  Because schools are ideal places to cultivate these Green capacities, ecological education in these settings is very important and more effective. Many Green companies aid schools, communities and other non-profit organizations to educate and empower citizens to make a difference to their environment. Read “Story of the Bottled Water” and “The Story of the Stuff” to channel some ecological inspiration and sense to acknowledge the human impact.

Eat Green:

Eat lower on the food chain; move down a few links and become more of a herbivore and less of a carnivore. A number of chemicals created for industrial use like PCBs and DDT for instance, end up in larger animals. Mercury found in tuna is a classic example of this concern. Consider options by including lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains in your diet. However, organic products are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts. The organic food supply is limited as compared to the demand.  As for food security, global food production is more than enough to feed the global population; the problem is getting it to the people who need it. Thereby, take only as much as you can eat. Can we change trends at parties and weddings? Go for a seated dinner instead of a buffet arrangement which generates a lot of waste. The caterer always makes more food than will be consumed so it never runs out.

Do Green:

One example to easily employ this strategy is by making it easier for the trash officials by separating plastic goods and paper from the rest of the trash. Therefore, you don’t aim to act green, but also impart green. Also avoid taking away goods. Not only they are more greatly wrapped but surplus packaging wastes resources which contribute to the overflowing landfills. Restaurants and various food joints now practice reusable ceramic plates; cups and silver ware and replacing paper with cloth napkins. Thereby, wash and reuse plastic kits, or consider regular cutlery or portable metal sets. Have your preferred beverage in one of your own ceramic cup instead of plastic/paper cups while travelling. Various campaigns initiated reflect the importance of recycling at the end of a product’s life.

Re-thinking the environmental impact of our decisions and taking into account our plant’s limited resources is an important part of the green education and implementation the Green policy. The strategy can be improvised through the audio/visual networks and newspapers. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use, adopting the use of fans instead of air conditioner in the summers and lowering the thermostat are a few ways towards enlightenment.

Urging the local government to increase sidewalks and bike lanes could prove a positive impact both on the population and the government revenues. Public transportation can cut down on traffic congestion and may lead to improved and more efficient services. Instructing the masses of the benefits of walking and riding which aims to save both money and time could recover health and environment.

Don’t buy. Borrow instead. Being a medical student, I have a made a fortune out of my modest learning by acquiring from used text books as they were stamped with marginal notes and references from previous owners. I passed my legacy to fresh candidates equipped with highlighted segments and additional material. Also, share power tools, appliances and invest in high quality products. They may cost more initially; however, may turn efficient in the long run and require less frequent replacement, consequently less waste. Such thrifty habits won’t cut into your quality of life.

The tap water is treated for safe drinking purposes. Rainwater on the other hand is relatively pure. Therefore, collect rainwater which maybe wholesome choice for non-drinking uses. Supplementing your water needs with rainwater will reduce utility bills and drainage. These attempts may suspend the costly expansion of water treatment services as municipal growth may outstrip supply.

Use Green:

With relatively economical compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) available, Pakistan can use smart lighting which are cheaper and use 75% less energy.  Also, harvest the power of daylight as long as possible. Wind and solar energy have become utility industry’s adoption for the environment’s source of power complimented by countries over the world. Pakistan is currently building solar power plants in Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan.

Most of the 15 billion batteries manufactured each year are discarded after their span, most of which are alkaline batteries. These batteries have a major share in groundwater leakage when disposed of to landfills. In this electronic era, it makes environmental and financial sense to switch to rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries.

Bottled water generates a large amount of waste. Not only it’s expensive, but also verified cancerous with repeated use. Thereby, consider a friendlier approach to drinking by using aluminum instead of plastic bottles while travelling or at work. Also, use a water filter to purify tap water instead of repeated purchase on bottled water.

2 out of 5 of the world population already faces water shortages, and 1.1 billion people in the developing world do not have access to a minimal amount of clean water. So turn the tap off while polishing those pearls. You can save up to 20,000 gallons of water a year, enough to fill a swimming pool!

Avoid using disposable bags. Buy a canvas bag to store purchased items instead of plastic bags. My grandmother always saved and re-used. She carried a large sack which she recovered from flour and rice packaging to the wholesale market. The craftsmanship of an over-sized bag is very captivating coupled with zero stigma attached to its dimensions. So ladies can stash purchases and still manage to look chic.

Expat.com is a renowned Saudi website for practically everything. It offers variety of furniture among other second hand goods. Craglist and Freesharing are a few of the popular spots for hunting down electronics, furniture, books, and other items. One can enjoy almost half of the original price on goodies. Various items casted off from the richer states might hold value to the developing nations and so consumer tendencies of the first class world have created surplus second hand goods. My mother is nature’s best friend. Although she doesn’t realize that she’s taking pounds off earth, she has made useful things out of the useless things.

Think before choosing and the impact of your decision on the planet’s resources. I think the humanitarian efforts would no longer be just a drop in the ocean.

About the author: Eman Khaled is a student of final year – MBBS, Sir Syed College of Medical Sciences. She has been a member of Rotaract Club of Karachi and Pakistan Red Crescent Society. She can be reached at: [email protected]

 

About this article:

This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2012 for the theme: Global Health

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  • Ali

    Great article! Keep up the good work!
    We are living on this planet as we have another one to go to!
    Save it for yourself and the generations to come!

  • Aymen

    Miss Dr loved ur article ….. its better than the last one =)…. jeep it up

  • EmanA

    The Right message for the Right people:)

  • SarahA

    Wow….going green this way is going all the colors all the way!!!!!

  • Awatif

    with limited resources and multiple inter-sectorial issues within the country; if we focus and educate the masses, not only we will save but also survive. Remote Education is very crucial for the Green implementation.

  • EmanA

    No strings attached, focusing green can bring favorable changes in the country.

  • http://twitter.com/ManhattanMangos Mangos In Manhattan

    I love it. Everything about this article is so RIGHT! Well researched, well organized & well delivered. Now only if we could get someone to say this in Punjabi on national TV and co-relate it with sex or religion so everyone would listen.

    • EmanA

      Excellent thought. Delivery in the local language combined with some fun would make it plenty more apprehensive and enjoyable.

  • Abdullah

    I love this enlightenment towards the green movement. With several issues converging, perhaps smaller steps may contribute to a bigger realm. Well written Eman

  • Abdullah

    The green movement is a great initiative towards a healthy Pakistan. Very well written!

  • Abdullah

    Great initiative towards a healthy Pakistan.
    feasible, inexpensive and friendly…Education of the local communities is a big constraint in our society.
    Very well done!

  • Estrella Pabelick

    Just thouight I’d mention I read about A great service for the removal of All whiteware and appliances as well as electronics and dishwashers for recycling.Heres the details Appliance Recycling Ltd 5A Beasley Ave Penrose (09) 377 7037 or 027 272 9308

  • Simon Yancy

    Just a short message I read about A fantastic service for the removal of All whiteware and appliances as well as electronics and dishwashers for recycling.Heres the details Appliance Recycling Ltd 5A Beasley Ave Penrose (09) 377 7037 or 027 272 9308

  • Hira

    i really appericiate this contribution towards a greener Pakistan, Well Done!