Celebrating Sustainability: Dawoodi Bohra Community of Manchester Marks World Environment Day

In celebration of World Environment Day – the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment – the Dawoodi Bohra community of Manchester organised a highly informative and engaging event for its members to share good environmental practices.

The event included a recycling workshop by Biffa, a leading integrated waste management company, providing valuable insights into enhancing recycling practices both within the masjid and at home.  There were also stalls hosted by community members sharing information on how to make compost, grow edible foods, make jams, and upcycle old clothes to make gifts and shopping totes.  A local bicycle repair and maintenance group from Levenshulme was invited to fix bikes and encourage active travel to the masjid.  The event was organised as part of Project Rise, the Dawoodi Bohras’ global initiative that includes programs on protecting and enhancing the environment.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that, around the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, while up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.  According to GreenMatch, the UK is one of the world’s most significant sources of plastic waste per person, contributing to approximately 6.4 million tonnes of plastic waste.  The Biffa workshop was a timely reminder that the best thing we can do is to reduce how much plastic we buy in the first place. 

Over the last few years, the Dawoodi Bohra community of Manchester has become increasingly conscious of its environmental impact, especially during large gatherings, such as during the month of Ramadan.  The leader of the Dawoodi Bohras, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, consistently reminds members of the faith that caring for the environment is a priority.  As a result, the community has implemented several impactful changes.  For example, by managing food portions served at communal meals, the community ensures that excess food does not end up in the bin.  This initiative not only reduces the environmental impact of food waste but also fosters a more sustainable approach within the masjid.

The Dawoodi Bohra community kitchen has also transitioned from using plastic containers to metal reusable ones.  This shift brings multiple benefits.  Metal containers are more durable and have a longer lifespan than plastic, reducing the reliance on disposable plastic containers, which often contribute to landfill and ocean pollution.  Additionally, metal containers can be reused multiple times, thereby minimizing the demand for new containers and conserving resources.  By avoiding plastic containers, the community helps prevent plastic waste from entering ecosystems and harming wildlife.

When additional containers are needed, the community now opts for sustainable packaging made from molded sugar cane and wood pulp.  These containers decompose naturally after around four months, thus reducing long-term pollution.  Furthermore, the production of sugar cane and wood pulp containers typically has a lower carbon footprint compared to petroleum-based plastics.  By choosing home compostable containers, the community supports a circular economy where materials return to the earth rather than accumulate as waste.

During the World Environment Day event, Erica Saxon from Biffa Waste Services Ltd presented the “No Time to Waste” workshop to an enthusiastic group of children and adults alike that focussed on the dangers of single-use plastic and the importance of increasing our recycling at home.  It was followed by a litter pick in the local area, during which children of the community talked about why people litter and how litter is hurting the environment.

Reflecting on the event, Insiya Halai, a spokesperson for the Dawoodi Bohra community remarked, “Our collaboration with Biffa has been immensely beneficial.  Through their guidance, we have been able to implement meaningful changes that align with our values of environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

These initiatives reflect the Dawoodi Bohra community’s strong commitment to environmental responsibility, resource conservation, and community well-being.  By implementing these practices, the community in Manchester contributes to a more sustainable future and sets a positive example for others to follow.

The efforts made during this year’s World Environment Day celebration not only highlight the importance of recycling and waste management but also showcase the proactive steps taken by the Dawoodi Bohra community in Manchester towards achieving a more sustainable and eco-friendly environment.

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