Yesterday, Gul Bahao Nargis Latif addressed a workshop arranged by WWF for about 400 youth coming from the best educational institutions of Karachi including Foundation Public School, Karachi Grammar School, Beacon House School at Hotel Regent Plaza. The students numbering 400 plus listened with rapt attention to Nargis’s talk. She said Gul Bahao’s research work can form the manifesto of any political party.
Nargis said that she has worked with hundreds of youth on a daily basis for years whose energy and enthusiasm combined with the academic knowledge she had gained right from school to university level has created wonders. Her entire speech was based on a CD which was shown on a screen. The pictures vividly showed the innovations made by Gul Bahao during the 18 years of its existence. The Fuel pack (cheap fuel for running power plants), Chandi Ghar, Paaki Paani as well as the Safai/kamai Bank kept the participants engrossed in the talk. The audience interacted with their questions and comments as well as participated in the well-known jingles of Gul Bahao “Garbage is Gold” in English and Urdu.
Refuting the notion that environment is an elitist subject Nargis said that Karachites living in a highly urbanized environment should know better. She said that if we consider the environment of the Karachi port on which the economy of this metropolis revolves, we are in for a rude shock. The garbage and sewage water of the metropolis that is being daily dumped into the sea is making it unfit for docking. Secondly it has all the potential for the worst kind of natural disasters like Tsunami. On the other hand solutions offered by municipal authorities are unworkable.
Gul Bahaos projects related to waste management are not only simple, affordable they address the issues in their totality Nargis said that the nexus of Environment and Economy is comparable to the concept of heaven and hell. “If we don’t solve the worlds environment problems we are in for Tsunamis and catastrophic floods etc. On the other hand if we manage to recycle (which is the best way to tackle our waste problems) municipal and industrial waste we will in fact be improving our economy and adding richness to our lives. There is nothing useless in nature”, she declared. She said that even human waste which by standards of human hygiene my be called the “Worst possible waste”, is in fact a resource as it is a rich source of fertilizer for plants. And just as electricity cannot be banned because it can kill human beings so human waste too may be regarded as a useful commodity using it in a scientific manner.
Nargis said that an important aspect of Gul Bahao’s campaigns has been its very close interaction with educational institutions comprising schools and universities. Referring to Karachi as a “City of Schools”, the head of Gul Bahao said that her organization plans to put “Research Centres” in the educational institutes so that the young children can enjoy their studies. She lamented that students dislike studying. She said that the Gul Bahao clubs would act as bridges between the theoretical knowledge of the schools and the real world where their theories would be applied. She said that her greatest joy were the time whenever a discovery was made though it took a lot of money and persistence.