Nargis Latif of Gul Bahao was invited as chief guest and key note speaker at a meeting of the Karachi Rotary club east. The topic of her speech was “Waste – A valuable resource”. Nargis Latif started her speech with Gul Bahao’s jingle, “Kutcra Sona Hey” which drew plenty of applause from the audience. She said that while on the one hand Karachi’s garbage has the potential to destroy the city, on the other hand it is a veritable gold mine, one indication being the cottage industry that it sustains.
The speaker presented a hypothesis of a Garbage n’ Gold (GnG) Bank where wet (organic) and dry (inorganic) garbage is bought. She said that Gul Bahao has researched all kinds of waste material being produced in the city and the GnG bank is the center of the scheme. Presently only dry garbage or non toxic industrial waste is being handled here. The GnG Bank has been performing the following functions:
1. Selling the bulk as raw material to middlemen and factories. It was pointed out that there are two markets Godhra and Machar Colony which are respectively taking cloth and polythene. All kinds of paper and cardboard are also sent out. Between March and July 2006 more than 30 lacs worth of wastage was sold out.
2. Waste material related to wood like wood shavings, broomsticks laminated paper, small bits of cloth; even dry twigs are used to make alternative fuel.
3. A good deal of the waste at the GnG bank includes shopping bags and other industrial waste. This lends itself easily to an entirely new concept of bricks called was-tic blocks to be used for prefabricated housing having the common name of “Chandi Ghar” These blocks can be put up in hours and dismantled just as quickly Nargis Latif showed dozens of photographs of houses made up of was-tic blocks to the audience. At this stage. Nargis suggested that a huge market for these prefabricated structures is the Haj season or any other religious occasion where temporary housing is required.
Nargis told the audience that while research on organic waste done by Gul Bahao is comparatively less yet the amount that has been done are worth talking about as organic waste comprises more than 50% of our waste.
Nargis said that the livestock market put up on the super highway at the time of Eid-ul Azha should be an indication of how much potential there is in livestock and hence the use of organic waste like vegetable and fruit peels and leaves. This wastage if collected in a clean manner can be used for rearing livestock in the suburbs of the city or wherever buildings cannot be erected.
The speaker also talked about biomass or trees growing on gutter water or even factory effluents which are polluting the rivers and the seas. For arguments sake even if poisons are taken up by the trees, their wood would not be eaten by humans, the wood would go into making furniture. Towards the end there was a question answer session, followed by a vote of thanks from Mr. Iqbal Alavi, the secretary of the Rotary Club. A memento was also presented to the managing trustee of Gul Bahao.