A united fight against plastic waste

The Bohra Muslim community launches a series of green initiatives pivoting around Broadway

Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat Trust Anjuman e Mohammedi is driving this series. On August 25, a virtual workshop is being conducted to educate people on how to take care of indoor and outdoor plants.

“We already have 200 registrations for the event and some have come from outside the community,” says Nafisa Zahara, PRO-coordinator Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat Trust Anjuman e Mohammedi.

On August 29, the group will be putting up posters at a sports event being held at a playground on SV Koil Street in Broadway.

Its second plastic-free campaign will coincide with Coconut Day, on September 2.

“As in the previous walk, we would be walking around and collecting plastic bottles. We would also take a break by sipping tender coconut water,” says Nafisa.

A good number of Bohra Muslims of Chennai live in and around Parrys, and hence this region gets the lion’s share of their attention. But other parts of Chennai also come within the scope of this exercise. “Our community members in Adyar, Santhome and Madhavaram are taking the initiative to their localities,” explains Nafisa.

Gowtham, the artist who designed the Coronavirus-inspired helmet for the police last year, points out that they collected over 150 kilos of plastic through a single event. “The money raised from handing over plastics to the recyclers is used to support children of rag pickers,” he says.

The community has been asking its members to set an example for others. Street representatives in the 17 odd streets of Broadway are asked to nudge shoppers into better waste management.

Mufaddal Chanasmawala, who runs an outlet selling chemical cleaning items at Mooker Nallamuthu Street, points out that there are 1200 establishments in Broadway run by members of their community.

“Our focus now is on educating our community on best green practices,” says Chanasmawala of Excellence Supply.

The outlet discourages use of plastic in any form.

“We only pack items in cloth bags and if a customer shops in bulk we would not charge him for the bag,” he says.

Zainab Abnan, an interior designer, says the community is active on social media and there are different ways of encouraging members to go green.

“Currently, our strength is our community and if each of us can make a difference through our lifestyle and habits, then others would get influenced,” says Zainab.

The community put an end to the practice of serving food in disposable plates at their community kitchen.

“This is our central kitchen and thousands of food packets are packed here to be sent to homes. A few years ago, we switched to containers,” says Chanasmawala.

Greening drive

In response to the Greater Chennai Corporation’s invitation to residents welfare associations and communities to adopt green spaces, the trust has planned to adopt a traffic island at Parrys.

“This space is at the heart of the junction and it offers two small gardens that we will start beautifying soon,” explains Nafisa.

Chanasmawala says they are also planning to take up beautification of the area around Moore Street.

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