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September 26, 2019

Consortium ‘Say No to Plastic Waste’ launched

Islamabad

September 26, 2019

Islamabad : After the very successful initiative, ‘Paper Miracles’ that gave paraplegic women hope and a source of income, the Miracles Trust, spearheaded by Elli Takagaki, along with other caring partners, launched the ‘Say No to Plastic Waste’ consortium at the Marriott Hotel.

Adviser to the Prime Minister for Climate Change, Amin Malik Aslam and State Minister of Climate Change, Zartaj Gul were the chief guests. They were accompanied by Senior Joint Secretary of Climate Change, Hammad Shamimi; Chief Commissioner of Islamabad, Amer Ahmad Ali and Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and other high-ranking officials from the government. Many ambassadors and senior members of the diplomatic community; the heads of agencies in the UN Group; World Bank, and the corporate sector also attended the event.

Adnan Auranzeb was the MC on the occasion and video screenings emphasized the various initiatives taken by the local, as well as some foreign communities on the ‘say no to plastic’ campaign.

Welcoming the gathering, Elli said lives are often defined by differences and boundaries - nationality, ethnicity, religion or gender; each one represents different organizations, has different priorities and sometimes it is difficult to even agree to disagree but the one word that brought many people together this evening, was ‘plastic.’ “The global plastic pollution crisis transcends all borders,” she said. “It impacts all of us. I have never felt a greater sense of urgency to take action, as I do now. And it is because I am in Pakistan, which I have called home for the last decade.”

She went on to say that after learning that Indus River is the second worst polluter of the ocean, following China’s Yantze River, she realised that all of us, living or working in Pakistan, are polluters, dumping 164,000 tons of plastic waste into the ocean each year. “I felt I personally needed to do more, which resulted in the launch of ‘Project Miracle.’ Our concept was simple - to recycle used banners to make durable eco bags as an alternative to single use plastic bags,” she said, adding she had received a lot of support and ideas from various groups that led her - along with co-founders, GM Marriott, Maurizio Romano and Imran Shauket - to form a consortium, which would serve as a launch pad to make those ideas a reality.

A signing ceremony followed in which the chief guests along with others participated, while everyone present stood up and took the pledge.

The Founder of Miracles Trust, Imran Shauket, said “Pakistan is a very large country and as such, the enormity of plastic usage and corresponding waste has numerous dimensions and related solutions.”

Kick starting the ‘show’ of how plastic can be done away with successfully, Maurizio Romano said Marriott had already initiated a ‘no plastic’ policy; wife of the World Bank chief, Priya Illengo, told of how the WB is completely plastic free - even to drinking water bottles! Wife of the Hungarian ambassador, Emilia Szabo said the Hungarian embassy, along with the Hungarian oil company MOL, had been the first to impose a ban on the use of plastic; Mina Dawlatchahi from FAO lauded the project and said her organization was also going plastic free; high commissioner of Canada, Wendy Gilmor who spearheaded the initiative ‘Diplogreen’ to clean up the diplomatic enclave, spoke of how many missions had been part of the drive and would continue to work towards a cleaner enclave, while ‘young advocates’ of the drive also did a cat walk on the stage.

In conclusion, both chief guests, Amin Malik Aslam and Zartaj Gul said they were delighted to be part of the initiative and that despite the odds, their government was determined to see that Pakistan is plastic free and the ban in Islamabad was a success.

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