As a child, being interested in the cleanliness of the environment, my one month internship at the Gul Bahao Research Centre during the summer of 2015 proved to be an invaluable learning experience for me, as I wish to pursue an environmental-oriented career in the near future. Despite being a small organization, the initiative which the staff takes in trying to promote re-cycling and re-using of garbage is commendable. None of this would have been possible without the guidance of the organization’s founder, Ms. Nargis Latif.

Over the past two decades, the organization has suggested numerous green solutions to keep our surroundings clean and reduce consumption of expensive resources. The organization’s most valuable contribution towards recycling of waste material is the ingenious “Chandi Technology”. The technology consists of “wastic blocks” and “panaflex panels” made out of clean, unused factory wastes such as defected labels and wrappers. Instead of burning this “valuable” garbage, unused factory waste is given a new lease of life by being sent to the Gul Bahao Research Centre to manufacture blocks and roof panels, which are further utilized to construct make-shift shelters, cheap and sturdy houses, mobile toilets, furniture and water tanks/swimming pools. The garbage is wrapped in silver foil to give the building material a distinctive appearance, as well as acting as an insulating material for shelters. The blocks are light in weight, thus making them mobile and easy to use as construction material. This feature allows rapid construction of shelters with aid of relatively less man power. The cost of constructing such structures is low enough to make it affordable for common man, thus serving as a cheap alternative to brick shelters or expensive plastic and wooden furniture. Last but not least, the Chandi blocks and panels are able to withstand all weather extremes, be it sunlight, heavy rainfall, or gusty winds. Thus, the recent Chandi Technology is a modern, eco-friendly solution to every problem.

The organization’s other initiatives include “Paaki Paani”, where tap water is filled into transparent plastic bottles and left in sunlight for a few hours. The ultraviolet rays of the Sun kill most of the bacteria present in the water within a span of 3 to 4 hours. This method is not only a cheap and efficient method to purify water, but also reuses plastic bottles which are usually thrown away. If brought into mass usage, Paaki Paani technology can help solve the global shortage of clean drinking water, thus bringing clean, germ free drinking water to the masses.

Gul Bahao’s “Choora Chaara” technology converts fruit and vegetable to compost, which can then be marketed as a cheap alternative to expensive, branded cattle feed. The organization has also invented ingenious fuel packs, each weighing ten to twelve kilograms, with dimensions 6x17x21 inches. The fuel pack is an environmental friendly alternative to fossil fuels, as they do not release toxic fumes, and at the same time, are cheap to produce and easy to transport, requiring no special transportation method unlike oil and natural gas. Non-toxic industrial wastes such as wood, cloth and bits of paper are wrapped in aluminum foil, which is slow burning, and helps to give long-lasting energy when burnt.

It is a shame that the general public does not take Gul Bahao’s eco tips as a solution to their daily problems. It is also sad to learn that the government is not funding or paying heed to any of the organization’s research programs. However, with the passage of time, I hope to see Gul Bahao’s simple, yet highly useful innovations come to use, as they not only reduce a person’s expenditure, but also aid in keeping the environment neat and clean.

Shahan D. Engineer

Uncensored write up version of A-level student from Karachi Grammar School about Gul Bahao’s activities
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