Chandi Technology launched on 14th August

While Pakistan’s Punjab was witnessing the launch of the “Azadi March” on the 14th of August, Karachi’s Expo Center was witness to a rare spectacle. At one of its ends Gul Bahao’s 20′ x 24′ Chandi Ghar with its stunning looks was shining brilliantly in the sun, while thousands of middle class Karachites were “marching up and down” to view the international exhibition organised by the Association of  Builders and Developers ABAD at the Expo Center. Inside the Chandi Ghar, the workers of Gul Bahao including the organisation’s CEO were alternately holding up photographs and pointing to the items lying inside the prefabricated structure.

Amidst the sound and fury of the hundreds of people who kept coming in and out of the Chandi Ghar, the workers took pains to explain what the Chandi Technology is all about. Calling it “Karachi’s gift to the World” they compared it with the mobile telephone. The workers were telling the visitors “Just as the mobile phone has changed the lives of people (the world over)with its multifaceted tasks, so too the Chandi block is inter convertible into a water reservoir, a two story house and furniture. “You can see all this yourselves”, they said, pointing to the light weight blocks in the roof of the Chandi Ghar and then to the tinseled sofas which consisted of exactly the same kind of blocks as in the ceiling. Again they pointed to photographs of swimming pools consisting of exactly the same kind of blocks as in the walls. Other large sized pictures showed Chandi Ghars built in Thar, on the Super highway, Mansehra, right in the middle of Karachi, in Gulshan-e-Iqbal etc. It was claimed that 150 structures including large sized halls have been built all over the country.

While the visitors kept visiting the Chandi Ghar all day, strong winds were blowing. It even rained for a short time, yet the Chandi Ghar remained unaffected by it all. The steady stream of visitors kept encouraging the dedicated workers of Gul Bahao by enlisting their names for helping to promote the new technology as buyers and as participants of Gul Bahaos Rozgar La Mehdood (Opportunities unlimited) wherein the organisation plans to to train educated youth in its innovations.As night approached, the Chandi Ghar under the influence of the artificial lights began to take on a fairy tale look, drawing crowds of visitors, including a delegation of senior members of the Association of Builders and Developers. The delegation assured the Gul Bahao team of their full support.

Chandi technology delights people of Thar

In the treeless desert of Tharparkar the scene is the Civil Hospital of Mithi. At the entrance everyone (both rich and poor) stops to stare at a 25×35 ft. silver structure glittering in the hot sun. They  have never seen a Chandi Ghar (a product of Karachi) before. As they enter they are pleasantly surprised to find it cool despite the absence of fans and air conditioners.

The Chandi Ghar Rest house, a prefabricated structure was completed in five days by an NGO Gul Bahao on the 12th of April. It is a gift from the middle class civil society of Karachi for the people of Thar. City School Darakshan Campus, Foundation Public School and Rotary Club Defence are the apparent donors of the rest house but silent donors run into hundreds. These include professionals, teachers, businessmen as well as companies who give their commercially viable wastage for free.

The rest house is being used since the day the roof was put in. it is mainly used by the relatives of patients who come to the hospital. A plus point of the structure is its potential to remain clean as the entire structure is made of plastic. There is a total absence of mud or cement. Its sheer novelty is attracting people from far and wide who are now interested in buying this technology to make homes,madrassas,warehouses etc.

In the meantime,the CEO of Gul Bahao has appealed to both the provincial and federal government, Karachi’s businessmen and entrepreneurs to support the Chandi technology which has costed crores of rupees to develop and decades to evolve. Referring to the governments Youth loan program Nargis Latif said  that the Chandi technology ( which uses plastic factory waste to make houses,water reservoirs, furniture  and rugs) can become a part of the scheme. The best part is that very little investment is required while the market potential is enormous!

Case for Internationalizing Pakistans first Research Centre on Waste managment

Gul Bahao's Manifesto
Gul Bahao’s Manifesto

The following is a paper read and circulated by the CEO of Gul Bahao, Nargis Latif among the 400 participants of a South Asian Conference on Sanitation held in Kathmandu recently.

Case for Internationalizing Pakistan’s First Research Centre on Waste management

The port city of Karachi having 20 million souls is the 6th most populated metropolis of the world generating more than 12,000 tons of garbage in a single day. In addition its economic wealth at this point in time (which is seeing rapid industrialization) makes it an ideal case study in waste management. What is more an organization by the name of Gul Bahao, an environment based organization during a period of 20 years and a budget of more than $90,000 has succeeded in covering several aspects of waste management from small extremely simple but highly effective products like mobile toilets to a most sophisticated futuristic concept like the Garbage n Gold Bank, it has dwelt into multiple dimensions of waste management. A massive campaign called “You give us garbage, we give you Gold” was conducted for more than 2 years which inter alia invited people especially the vibrant cottage industry and the informal economy to separate garbage at source.

The philosophy of Gul Bahao (literally meaning Flow flowers) is that there is a close nexus between environment and the economy. That garbage is in fact raw material for both industry and agriculture. At Gul Bahao Centre, research on both macro and micro level is been conducted.

The world over waste material is being used creatively but more for decoration purposes. Plastic packing material forms a bulk of inorganic waste. Then furniture is being made from packing material. The world famous “Silver block” a modular block designed at the Centre and used alternately as swimming pool, a two storied house etc. The raw material used is plastic waste which is otherwise burnt in the streets of Karachi causing toxic fumes and severe air pollution. The usefulness of these recycled products ensures that their raw material will not be mixed up with other kinds of organic waste.

At the centre the researched products are commercially viable products like cattle feed, Instant Compost Fuel Packets (Look at the attached pamphlet). As a result of Gul Bahao’s persistence in advocating recycling of gutter water two important steps were taken by the government of the day. One of these was a ban on using fresh water in lawns and encouraging use of gutter water in horticulture so that fresh water is not polluted by sewage water. This lead to a healthy growth of nurseries using gutter water. Secondly during the time of sacrifices of animals the offal’s and other organic waste used to be lying around for days in the streets. But a proposal from the Research Centre to the local bodies to bury en-mass the entrails and other filth of the dead animals lead to a complete change in the situation.

Thousands of people consisting of University students, NGOs, government officials and school going children as well as the media have visited the Research Centre. Its website is very mush visited and even used for writing theses by research students. It is located in one of the most developed areas of the metropolis, right on the main road.

We are all conscious of the fact that environment degradation cannot be allowed to go unchecked. On the other hand to say that industrialization and development must be stopped because of environmental pollution they create is not a workable solution. The answer lies in conducting research with different kinds of materials being thrown up by industry and human life. Attempts in this direction have been extremely fruitful. Not only have they helped in controlling pollution and unsanitary conditions they have led to innovations of great use to people.

The time has now come for the world community to avail the fruits of this research facility located in the metropolis of Karachi. The Gul Bahao Research Centre has been there for the last twenty years and can be linked up with other organizations the world over through internet facilities as well as through visits. What is important is financial help to keep it sustainable. Waste management is a very challenging subject. At this point, I appeal to organizations all over the world to chip in and help sustain this facility, with the aim of helping to control environmental degradation.

Prefabricated housing

Gul Bahao's Chandi Ghar
Gul Bahao’s Chandi Ghar

For the last several years, it has been observed that new kinds of challenges spring up during the sacred month of Ramazan. Yesterday, while the city was being battered with rain Gul Bahao’s team under the supervision of its technical chief D. Alim was putting final touches to its latest innovation of prefabricated roofing.

Till the writing of this piece, the Environment Museum stands out on main Rashid Minhas Road, its silver facade glittering in the sun, while not a drop of rain water has entered its 20ft x 40ft hall, despite record breaking rain.

Talking to the press Nargis Latif of Gul Bahao claimed that the organization’s Environment Museum which was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor of Karachi University on 5th June has all the solutions for disaster management as well as to preempt disasters, the city witnessed during the heavy rainfall.

Gul Bahao has truly gone into the nitti gritty of waste management which is the root cause of the flooding of the city’s roads. Nargis said that at the inauguration of the Environment museum she had warned of “Karachi being drowned in gutter water but nobody listened, she lamented.

Talking about Gul Bahao’s latest innovations, the managing trustee of Gul Bahao said rain proof roof has been made for single storied Chandi Ghars using light weight blocks made from waste (but clean) thermo- pole pieces arranged in the form of slopes. The important aspect of this is that this double roofing can be put in a matter of hours.

During the holy month of Ramazan another experiment is being made to make water proof tarpaulins. This has two advantages

  1. Raw material is plastic waste which would otherwise enter the sewerage system and block it
  2. It is cheap so that the poorest of the poor can afford it in times of inclement weather.

Another innovation thrown up by Gul Bahao during heavy rains is for low lying areas. This is especially useful for factory owners who would like to save their millions of rupees worth of goods from being submerged in rain water. These are 10-20 kgs heavy “Wastic Blocks” which can form a platform in a few minutes.

Nargis Latif said that the museum is open to all traders, manufacturers, policy makers, scientists and professionals. She said the projects on display at the museum should be especially attractive for businessmen as these require very little investment but whose profits could be immense both money wise as well as for handling and preempting natural disasters.

Concluding, Gul Bahao has appealed to the incumbent President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussein to visit Pakistan’s Environment Museum which has taken 20 years to emerge at a cost of more than 8 crores.

Gul Bahao goes international !


GUL BAHAO GOES INTERNATIONAL! CNN has repeatedly shown Gul Bahaos research Center (in the current month) and it can be seen on its website here. The center is planning to convert into an Environment museum  close to the World Environment Day i.e the 5 th of June.  The Museum will exhibit recycled products with a clear cut use as well as commercial value.