Yesterday, a group of students numbering 70 (seventy) from the environment department of NED university came on a study tour of the Gul Bahao Complex located on Rashid Minhas road, the students were amazed to see a Research Center run on a self help basis especially when they were told that about seven crore rupees spread over s period of fifteen years, have so far been spent on the different projects. The question that they kept raising was how it was funded. The answer that was shot back was “beg, borrow or steal”. The students were divided into four groups and shown around the centre. Habib Malik a spokesman of the Center showed the students around especially the Safai/Kamai Bank which is the earning arm of the Organisation. Habib said that the Safai/kamai bank (A modern version of the Kabaria) funds more than 60% of the research work of Gul Bahao. Habib said that from day one the Organisation has been involved in commercial work i.e. buying and selling of assorted wastage (which has a ready market ). Had it not been for this, Habib the Incharge proudly claimed, Gul Bahao would not have been able to function. Partly agreeing with her spokesman, Nargis Latif the Managing Trustee of Gul Bahao said that the project was too big to be sustained entirely on its own funds and at times even had to borrow from money lenders at exorbitant rates. She further claimed that that Gul Bahao is doing both research and extension work.
The students evinced special interest in the fuel pack which the Organisation claims is cheap fuel for running power plants The spokesman Habib said that Attock Cement had shown keen interest in this project and offered to buy 500 tonnes per day of this fuel for its cement plant. At this point Nargis Latif exhorted the students to lobby with the government for using Karachi’s waste to produce electricity. Gul Bahao would provide the fuel at economic rates but also help producers to make these fuel packs in the cottage industries.
The students were shown all the innovations in minute detail. The hall in which they were seated fascinated them completely as except for bamboo sticks no conventional material was used. It was said that the building blocks were made from a mixture of compressed shopping bags and aluminium foil. The so called wastic blocks will last till eternity for the simple reason that plastic does not disintegrate easily, it was claimed.
The Chairperson of Gul Bahao said that the Chinese revolution was accompanied by simple indigenous technology and this is precisely the way Gul Bahao is working and devising cheap and original solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Nargis said that Gul Bahao can be called an Environmental Organisation whose philosophy is recycling is the answer to our problems. She said that though she believes in going “back to nature” for solving todays environment problems she is not averse to using pet bottles, shopping bags and other conveniences of modern life. The NED students were clearly impressed by all that they said. A few went to the extent of hugging the young spokesman Habib Malik. Several volunteered to work for Gul Baho in their free time