Unveiling the Transformative Power of Recycling and Youth Engagement

Islamabad: An insightful and impactful Twitter Space unfolded on International Youth Day, bringing together a panel of passionate voices to discuss the profound potential of recycling waste and the pivotal role of youth in shaping a sustainable future. With a fervent focus on waste transformation and environmental stewardship, the event showcased the incredible possibilities that lie within recycling while emphasizing the urgent need for youth engagement.

The Twitter Space, a collaborative endeavor by the Institute of Urbanism (IoU) and Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs), proved an unequivocal triumph, harnessing the participation of individuals from diverse strata of society. The event commenced with a resounding declaration: “There is nothing as waste in Nature!” This powerful statement set the tone for a vibrant dialogue among the participants, each hailing from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Zofeen Ebrahim, a Senior Environmental Journalist, kicked off the conversation with an array of perspectives on waste, reminding the audience that waste is a multifaceted concept. From being seen as an opportunity for profitable ventures to recognizing its potential as a resource, the dialogue sparked a dynamic exchange on waste’s redefined significance. Plastic recycling emerged as a central point, with the consensus that plastic should be cyclically used to combat its adverse environmental impacts.

Ali Niazi, Project Manager of Lahore Waste Management Company, chimed in to spotlight waste’s latent potential, equating it to an asset that demands exploration. However, he underscored that the road to effective waste management is riddled with challenges, particularly in both developed and developing countries where funds and resources are limited. Niazi emphasized the essential practice of source segregation, urging responsible waste disposal and management at the point of origin.

Mome Saleem, Member Steering Committee Green Youth Movement, illuminated the need for comprehensive infrastructure and education in the waste management sector. She stressed that a sustainable business venture isn’t solely about imparting skills but also revolves around understanding the entire lifecycle of waste. She advocated for investing in youth to cultivate environmentally conscious entrepreneurs through small grants.

Uhamir Patrick, the Focal Person of the Green Youth Movement (GYM) Club at BBS University Sindh, shared a wealth of opportunities available for youth engagement in waste management. He highlighted the GYM Club’s launch across 137 universities in Pakistan, fostering a network of environmentally aware young minds. Patrick emphasized the importance of spreading awareness about solid and liquid waste management and green skills among youth, positioning them as agents of change.

M. Saad Saleem, Chief Marketing Officer of Trash Bee, reflected on the reality of waste management, pointing out that much of the waste generated at homes remains unsegregated, eventually ending up in landfills. He recounted his journey in waste management, transitioning from university campaigns to establishing a B2B model that effectively manages waste. Saad also highlighted the potential of waste utilization in expansive projects like botanical gardens.

Waleed Hameed, Director of CSR at Lasani Fiber Industries, shared an inspiring story of Lasani Industry’s inception in 1996, highlighting their pioneering efforts in plastic recycling. This forward-thinking venture collects plastic bottles from across Pakistan, transforming them into fibers utilized in the textile industry. Waleed emphasized the cooperative spirit of communities and the vast potential for youth in the recycling sector.

Wajahat Iqbal, an accomplished Entrepreneurship Coach, underscored the importance of nurturing essential life skills in youth, including problem-solving, financial management, conflict resolution, salesmanship, and personal vision. He stressed the urgency of recognizing both individual and collective goals, underlining youth’s capacity to drive impactful change.

As the event concluded, the collective vision of waste as a resource and youth as its catalyst resonated strongly. The discussion illuminated the potential for a greener, more sustainable future through the convergence of recycling and youth engagement.

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