Plastic project saves tonnes of waste at Ramadan

May 06 2022
Plastic project saves tonnes of waste at Ramadan

A FISHPONDS man has lead a project to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used at community events during Ramada

Naseem Talukdar of charity Projects Against Plastic (PAP) has worked with representatives from mosques in Bristol to find sustainable ways to serve food and drink to worshippers breaking fast during the religious festival. 

Among the seven Bristol mosques involved in the Plastic Free Ramadan project were Faizan-E-Madina and the Jalalabad Centre in Fishponds, and Greenbank Majid.

It is expected to save up to seven tonnes of waste and could be rolled out across the UK next year.

During the month of Ramadan, which this year started on April 2, Muslims fast between dawn and sunset, breaking their fast directly after sunset, when mosques hold special services and meals.

Organisers say a typical mosque can use up to 3,000 water bottles and 2,000 plastic plates and cutlery sets.

This year the project team installed dishwashers and reusable crockery at the mosques taking part, and looked at ways to provide access to drinking water and encourage visitors to bring their own bottles, after a pilot project in 2019 found a water fountain and dishwasher reduced waste in one mosque by 70 per cent.

Naseem said: "Protecting the environment is an important aspect of Islam. I believe we all have a responsibility to look after our planet as best we can.

“With clear messaging, better awareness and some simple actions, we are able to tackle plastic pollution as a community.”

Naseem brought to the project his experience from trying to reduce single-use plastic in the food industry, which led to him founding PAP, previously known as Plastic Pollution Awareness & Action. He said: “My work in takeaways, restaurants and with the homeless has heightened my awareness of the huge amount of plastic used in the industry.

“I’ve been working with various specialists to find a long-term solution to this problem.”

The mosques involved are part of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group (BMSLG), set up to develop and strengthen Muslim communities in Bristol.

BMSLG environmental task group chair Sheila El Dieb said: "Working with partnership projects such as this allows Muslim communities to contribute towards their environmental goals."

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “If Bristol is to be a truly sustainable city, we must reduce the amount of plastic we use. Projects like this will make a valuable contribution to our goals.”