Saving the environment may not be one of the top priorities for many of those who are fueled with the drive to do something for the country. After all, why worry about water shortages and carbon footprints when sporadic violence and senseless killings dull major cities and the majority of the population doesn’t have enough food to live on or shelter to stay warm under? Contrary to popular belief, however, there are quite a few great organisations in the country that, in their own way, are doing what they can to raise awareness about the environmental catastrophe in Pakistan.
Hisaar Foundation is non-profit organisation whose mission is simple yet impactful: Balancing environment with development through innovation. From all the information provided on their website, it is evident that those leading Hisaar are fully aware of the criticism that might come their way if they focus solely on saving the environment. Thus, they have combined their mission of environmental conservation with development, placing specific emphasis on the importance on preventing water contamination and seeking out and implementing cost-effective solutions to desalinate seawater. Hisaar has a two-fold agenda: deal with the inevitable water shortage in Pakistan and how it will affect livelihoods, and promote policies that encourage conservation and protection of water resources in the country. They have many initiatives and programmes that are Sindh-based, and it seems evident that though it may just be the tip of the iceberg, they are an organisation with plenty of gravitas to move forward.
Sustainable Pakistan, or Pakistan Sustainability Network (PSN), is another terrific organisation. Their website is extremely user-friendly and interactive, with a blog that has plenty of articles by an eloquent team of regular writers who provide insights on recent environmental concerns and events. PSN also has a range of programmes that anyone can get involved in, especially the younger generation. They also have a ‘Green Directory’ to which one can add their organisation, given that it follows methods and policies that are eco-friendly. An individual can also become a member of PSN, and the fee to do so is quite minimal while the benfits appear to be more than a few. PSN seems new and young, but given that they have a lot of appeal to the youth, they can easily become the driving force to saving the environment in Pakistan.
Perhaps one of my favorite green organisations is Waste Busters. With a name that’s reminiscent of the childhood beloved ‘Ghostbusters’ and a mission that is simple, to reduce and manage waste and promote recycling, Waste Busters is energetic and has already received a lot of well-deserved praise and accolades. Led by Kurt Archer, who is also a managing member at PSN, WB is active in major cities such as Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta. WB provides services such as door-to-door waste collection for households and companies, as well as recycling options and solutions. A wide array of corporations such as Shell, Tetra Pak, PTC, Mitchell’s have affiliations with WB and even international organisations like the World Bank, UNDP, UNEP and WWF have collaborated with WB. The UNDP, Dubai Municipality and Lahore Chamber of Commerce have also awarded WB for its plentiful contributions and unending efforts. An impressive organisation that is doing a lot to curb the problems of waste disposal and sanitation, Waste Busters has already achieved quite a bit in Pakistan, with plenty of progress still to be achieved.
These are three impressive organisations in Pakistan that are, in their own way, doing what they can to deal with issues of the environment in Pakistan. There are a myriad more, and each requires support, encouragement and aid in order to move forward. Whether its a monetary donation, volunteer work or even just word of mouth awareness, each one of us, as citizens of Pakistan, are responsible for the country. The ridiculed leadership may be handicap and indifferent, but must we follow suit?