Showing posts with label Sabina Rizwan Khan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sabina Rizwan Khan. Show all posts

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Going Green for Pakistan

By Sabina Rizwan Khan

Let's make Pakistan Green, One Plant at a time! This spirit showed will be shown again by a bunch of enthusiastic green lovers of environment. From doing flash mobs to planting saplings, from conducting informative seminars on environmental issues to beach cleaning, from creating awareness at schools to running own small campaigns, Earth Week will be 7 days of fun, sheer activism and creating attentiveness toward Pakistan's important climate issues.

Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April which was founded by Gaylord Nelson, an American Senator to create awareness for Earth and our environment. But later on, many people extended the effort of inspiration to a week, thus called Earth Week now. Earth Week is celebrated from 17th April to 23rd April, in more than 175 countries all over the world. Numerous people, communities and organizations focus this whole week on activities regarding environmental issues.

With numerous environmental changes like creation of artificial lake, reduction in growth of certain crops, floods and changing climatic patterns over the years showed how vulnerable Pakistan is towards climate change. The recent devastation caused by floods demonstrated well that how global warming can be lethal. With very little awareness regarding climate change also and its consequences, it was difficult to address the concrete issues and work towards solutions some years ago.

However, the scenario is progressing as now people especially youngsters are showing interest in environmental issues, with responsibility. With much knowledge on media and people accepting environment problem as matter of great concern has made the difference to a larger extent. This year, Karachi along with other cities, witnessed many celebrations on account of Earth Week, in various schools, colleges and universities. Even some offices made sure to cut down their energy consumption. A lot of seminars were conducted to disseminate information and facts regarding how these problems can be minimized. Many forums were held to initiate a dialogue on energy conservation especially in a country that is already suffering from its shortage. From plantations to cleaning to just writing blogs a lot of action was observed this time.

Though many see all such efforts as time wastage, we see this as an encouraging sign towards betterment. Remaining in our given capacities if we are able to create awareness and making people informed, I think a lot of transformation starts from here. Jerry Yudelson, a green building and green marketing specialist from US, on account of Earth Hour shared "Everything that raises awareness of energy use and creates a feeling that global warming is an issue for the entire world to address together, is useful in my opinion."

This surely puts end to all cynical critics who says that we have far better issues to address than environment. We must understand that global warming and its effects are indirectly affecting our living conditions, our patterns of weather, giving rise to natural calamities. This as a result has negative impacts on our agro-based economy as well as our infrastructure, budgets and security.

We as individuals who have access to all sorts of resources can make a greater difference only if we know what and how to do. Like I said earlier, awareness is the first step towards the solution, it is essential to know what is global warming. How climate change is affecting the world collectively and its further costs in future are needed to be understood, so that we can work better to find practical solutions.

Here are some interesting tips to play your part in saving your Earth:
  1. When television is not being watched, turn the television off and don't leave it on standby.
  2. Especially for students and office people, try to re use your Xerox papers' back for writing down notes.
  3. Instead of using new wrapping paper, use newspaper and magazine pages to wrap gifts. They give an interesting look and you can do collage work out of it as well giving it a personalized touch.
  4. Cook while keeping all pots and pans covered, this will help in cutting the energy expenditure by almost 90 percent.
  5. Reuse plastic bags as much as possible. Try to use cloth bags for shopping as plastic bag manufacturing gives off enormous amount of carbon.
  6. If you are not sitting in any room, turn off the lights, fan and air conditioner.
  7. Turn the switch off, if your cell charger is plugged in, even when your cell is not connected.
  8. Travel to nearby places, visiting close living friends by walking or riding a bicycle. A little bit of this can help cut down the carbon emission in greater amounts.
  9. Instead of travelling to your institutions or offices in your individual cars, start car pooling which is again less on carbon and also price effective in times of petrol price hikes.
  10. Always make sure to run the washing machine with full load of laundry to save electricity.
  11. Keep your food covered in the refrigerator. This helps stopping moisture escape and as a result it prevents excessive power burden on compressor. 
  12. Keep it all Green. Plant trees as much as possible, water them regularly. Drive plantation campaigns in your campuses and localities not only in Earth Week but throughout the year. This birthday, plant number of trees as your age!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Paradise lost on earth

By Sabina Rizwan Khan
Children are the symbol of hope for the future in any country. They are considered to be the next builder of nation, but unfortunately these innocent beings are at the verge of destruction as the stigma of child labour is deterioting them.

Child labour has emerged as a global phenomenon and found almost in all countries. The child labour problem has been in focus since eighties and caught the world's attention after the adoption of the of the Convention on the Rights of the child by the UN General Assembly in November 1989.

Since then various attempts have been made to control such practices but still a lot is need to be done. According to The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), over 100 million boys and girls aged between 5 and 14 work as child laborers.

When we look at Pakistan, the situation seems even worse as ILO quotes:
“In Pakistan 67 % of children are said to be involved in agriculture, 11 %in the carpet sector, 5% in Brick kilns and 9 % in the wholesale and retail, followed by 8 % in community, social and personal services.”
Though the government of Pakistan has been trying to bring changes in the scenario, but no vital signs has been witnessed so far. According to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, "No child below the age of fourteen shall be engaged in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous employment".

The constitutional aspect attached to the issue is enough to understand that how significant the matter is. But sadly it is easily being ignored. These young children are found working at street signals, pathan hotels, factories, garages, and often at homes as servants. The most tragic part is that these minors work in harsh conditions and get less amount of return.

According to UN report daily an average child give 10 to 15 hours to labour. Also, there are no safe guards for these children, if they get injured or hurt there are no compensations made. There are many in home factories working privately in Karachi, and if a child gets hard it he or she is forced to come to work the next day, because of which these children often fell ill or even loses their lives. Besides that, these children are also a victim of sexual abuse and drug addiction, which is again a big problem. On an average, in Karachi, a street child does not live up to 15 years of age.

A survey of working children in Karachi showed that they were between the ages of 12-14 years (mean = 13.91 yrs), with average family size of 7.4 members and average family income was Pak Rupees 2,884/month.12 The children had an average income of Pak Rupees 615/month (range: 200-1200). Forty five percent were helpers in shops the rest were employed in other businesses. The reasons given for job included family support (89%), parent's pressure (5%), fond of work (4%), learning skills (1%) and self support (1%). The majority (56%) was working for more than 7 hours per-day and 79% said that they do not like to work. Majority of the children wanted to study, play, be born in another family and become doctors, engineers and officers.12. (Source: Rawal Medical Journal, online)

There are numerous factors that are responsible for triggering child labour in our country:

Unequal Economic opportunities: the exploitation of less privileged people is a major factor. Socio-economically, there is an elite class that has domination on the resources and that makes the other class to suffer, especially the lower class where families are left with no other option than to send their children to work because of financial constraints.

Large families: The growing population is another issue where one bread earner cannot fulfill the requirements of ten eaters, and thus young children of the family are brought into the working scene in order to compensate.

Domestic Violence: Many children yearly runs away from their homes, for really petty issues, but it is the peer pressure especially of the parents that forces the child to take such irrational step.

Deprivation of Educational facilities: Lack of educational amenities also leaves only one option for such under privileged children that are to end up working.

Provision of low wage service: Children are often used for various services because they are a low paid service and they can be easily oppressed and tyrannize.

For girls, Parental discrimination: The biggest dilemma, where un educated parents takes the female children as the curse and often they are targeted for child labour because they are born girls where as the boy member will be regarded and are not forced to work, this practise is common in rural areas of Pakistan.

Malfunctioning of social monitoring institutions: Though there are many implementations of laws and NGO’s working for the preservation of child rights, but still nothing considerable is observed so far.
Considering the above factors that are playing a pivotal role in bringing child labour to existent, one cannot ignore the side effects it is causing:

Child labour deprives a child of his childhood.
He suffers from physical and mental torture.
He becomes mentally and emotionally mature, before his age,
Child labour creates and perpetuates poverty.
It condemns a child to a life of unskilled and unpaid life.
This gives rise to a whole generation of poor children undercutting wages.

Besides that a child misses out all the fun and amusement that any other regular child would enjoy, it is disheartening to realise that when we enjoy a McDonald burger, a child on the streets of Karachi would be looking for food in the trash cans, when any other child would be going to a school, the same age child somewhere would be preparing to leave for work, when a kid would be enjoying his safe home and his toys, somewhere a child would be sleeping on an unsafe deserted street corner waiting to sleep so that he can play in his dreams because that is the only place where he is able to do all those things which is a dream for him in reality!

It is up to us to add colours of reality to their dreams as John Fitzgerald Kennedy said:
“Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future of any country."