Karachi-On World Cleanup Day 2020, the not for profit organization Network of Organizations Working with Persons with Disabilities (NOWPDP) organized an awareness session followed by a beach clean-up activity. Improper waste disposal and littering has a significant environmental impact but one which can be reduced drastically through awareness, behaviour change and relevant infrastructure. Talking about NOWPDP’s commitment to anti-littering and World Cleanup Day through organizing this beach cleanup, Omair Ahmad, Executive Director NOWPDP said, “Everyone knows littering has an environmental impact. It also adversely affects health and society. Positive change can only be achieved when we rally together as individuals, institutions, and society to take responsibility for a sustainable and inclusive future. We are humbled by the support of our partners including Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited in our efforts.” NOWPDP recently launched their UPCYCLE initiative, which emphasizes on creating anti-littering awareness, conducting cleanup activities and recycling plastic into reusable items while training and employing persons with disabilities in the entire process. The project trainees also participated in the drive. Present at the cleanup site, Sadia Dada, Director Communications Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited (“PMPKL”) said: “The best way to reduce littering is to drive awareness and behavioral change which is why we are here today. We recognize that corporate sector has an important role to play in supporting action on littering and are committed to add our efforts to further the cause. This year, our parent company Philip Morris International announced in our Integrated Report 2019 the global aim to achieve a 50 percent reduction of the plastic litter from our products by 2025, compared to a 2021 baseline.”
Taimur, a project trainee of NOWPDP’s Upcycle initiative commented, “The responsibility and the urgency for the need to counter littering lies with each one of us and I am proud to be part of the solution rather than the problem.” Sidra Zahid, another volunteer who had registered for the clean-up drive on social media shared, “There is so much trash everywhere. Last month citizens of Karachi saw firsthand how litter can compound urban flooding. I can no longer be a silent spectator. The world is need of an urgent clean up!” As part of this partnership, aside from conducting a series of awareness sessions on littering and conducting anti-littering drives, NOWPDP will also set up a recycling facility whereby litter from select litter hotspots around Karachi will be collected, sorted and recycled into reusable items. The project will also build the capacity of and empower Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) through inclusion in economic activities while addressing the serous civic issue of littering which impacts diverse locations—from streets and city parks to beaches and oceans. World Cleanup Day is a global event which was also observed at Clifton Beach, Sea View and was attended by volunteers who had signed up for the event, as well as employees of NOWPDP and representatives from PMPKL.