World Environment Day 2018

Written by Aina on . Posted in News & Updates, Take Action

#BeatPlasticPollution World Environment Day 2018

Plastic is everywhere in our daily lives and that is a huge problem. Look around and you’ll find it. In your bathroom, in your kitchen, at your school or office, in hospitals, shops, cars, or even in your garden. Yes, in your flower pots for example.

It’s omnipresent in things and objects we use everyday that we don’t even notice. It’s in our tea bags, in our clothes, in our personal care products, in children’s toys, in our mobile phones, in food wrappers, etc. It has become so essential in our lives that if you think about it, it’s hard to imagine our life without plastics.

Sadly, plastic is also omnipresent in our environment. It has been found in the deepest part of the ocean, trapped in Arctic sea ice, inside a whale’s stomach, in tap water, floating in rivers and huge patches in the ocean, and most probably it is already present in our food chain.

How much proof then, do we need to realize that we have become so dependent on plastics that we are drowning our ourselves and the planet in them? What can we do to end this toxic addiction that is polluting our environment, affecting our wildlife and damaging our own health?

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Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

The big problem: lots of single-use plastic and almost no recycling.

Globally every year around 300 million tons of plastic is produced. Some estimate that is roughly the equivalent to the weight of the entire world population! Half of it, designed to be used only once and then thrown away. Food trays,  bottles, straws, shopping bags, cutlery, cups, sanitary products, packaging film, you name it. Just look around and you’ll find it. In fact, the abuse of single-use plastic has become so excessive that individuals around the world are posting in social media photos of ridiculous packaging to demand corporations and retailers to reduce this type of throwaway plastic.

At the same time the production of more durable plastics has diminish and the trend has been towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use. This, combined with almost no recycling, and you have the ecological disaster we are facing.

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How did this happened?

Although plastics have only been massed produced for the last 60 years our consumption has grown exponentially. By the 1990s plastic waste generation and similarly plastic production, more than tripled in just 20 years. At the same time the recycle rate of plastic has been extremely low. In fact just 9% of all plastic waste EVER produced has been recycled! The other 12% has been incinerated, while the rest 79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment, whether a river, the sea, or on land.

And precisely because of the characteristics that have made plastic such a convenient and widely use material (durability and versatility), are the same reasons why every single piece of plastic that has ever been produced still exists today. Surely it’s not the original same shape, size or color but it is certainly there. Plastics are so durable and hard to biodegrade that they can persist in the environment for decades or even centuries!

Source: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Source: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

An ocean of plastic

You must have seen in social media pictures and videos that show how drastically polluted with plastics our seas and oceans are. Worldwide, plastics make-up the most common type of marine litter found in the ocean. In fact, plastic has become an inherent part of the marine environment. Annually it has been estimated that around 8 million tons of plastics end up there, which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute! As such it’s not hard to imagine the predicted scenario that by 2050, the ocean will  have more plastics than fish.

Almost all plastic found in the ocean is originated in-land and in coastal regions but because of poor waste management practices it ends carried by rivers or blown by air into the sea. Once in the ocean, plastics accumulate with other types of marine debris in huge floating patches like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or wash up on the coasts, while light resistant plastics break down into smaller pieces called microplastics that continue to float, sink into the ocean floor or get ingested by marine animals.

static1.squarespace.com Keeping_track_of_ocean_plastic

Beat Plastic Pollution – World Environment Day

The huge dimension of the plastic pollution crisis has reached a tipping point in public awareness.  Individuals and organizations worldwide are calling for action to stop plastic pollution. Corporations, businesses and governments are starting to take steps to tackle the issue, by banning certain items like plastic bags or by substituting plastics with reusable, recyclable, or compostable materials.

All this is a good sign but the truth is that we need to do more. Each of us has to do more to “Beat Plastic Pollution”, as the chosen theme for World Environment Day 2018 says.

There are so many things we can do to help end plastic pollution and not just today but everyday. Join the worldwide movement and start taking concrete steps to #BeatPlasticPollution.

Get some inspiration with these simple ideas and remember to share yours and spread the word.

  • Carry your own reusable water bottle or coffee mug
  • Say NO to plastic straws
  • Bring your own shopping bag to the supermarket
  • Don’t use or buy products with microbeads – check for Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and/or Nylon (PA).
  • Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk
  • Participate in community clean-up events
  • Never flush any kind of plastic down the toilet
  • Choose package-free foods or with biodegradable packaging
  • Switch liquid soap with soap bars
  • Avoid synthetic fabrics
  WED2018 EN_FC

For sources and more information check:

http://www.dw.com/en/six-data-visualizations- that-explain-the-plastic-problem/a-36861883

https://www.unenvironment.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/the-new-plastics-economy-rethinking-the-future-of-plastics

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/19/more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-sea-by-2050-warns-ellen-macarthur

http://www.cleanwater.org/problem-marine-plastic-pollution

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html

http://www.cleanwater.org/problem-marine-plastic-pollution

World Environment Day 2017 in Pune

Written by Aina on . Posted in India, News, Take Action, Uncategorized

Last Sunday the 18th of June, Nektarina Non Profit and Zest Youth Movement celebrated the World Environment Day in Pune.

Every year since 2014, both organizations have been celebrating the important date gathering hundreds of participants, most of them children and youths.

 In this occasion over 200 participants attended the celebration that started at 7am.

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To commence the event, participants gathered at Sarasbaug where they took an environment oath to then start a walk for the environment that ended up in at Shaniwar Wada. During the walk, participants displayed signs, banners, and flags with slogans and messages about the importance of taking care of the environment and actions to protect it.

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The rally finally arrived at the Mutha River bank for a clean-up in support also to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission ) national government campaign.

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To close the event an empty banner was placed for participants to write inspiring messages about the importance of protecting the environment and particularly about the 2017 World Environment Day theme: “Connecting people to nature” and/or making use of the “I´m with nature” slogan.

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Not simply a celebration, this event is a sample of how the Education for Sustainability initiative mobilizes and brings together communities in activities that help to raise awareness and act towards a sustainable future.

 A big thank you to all the participants and supporters of our event. A special recognition to the school teacher Mrs Anagha Chavan who flagged the rally and of course to India’s E4S Country Manager, Suresh More.35497970645_affbaa2a33_k

Click the below link to check out more pictures of the event

https://www.flickr.com/photos/122900157@N06/albums/72157682359674662/with/35457532556/

Tree planting celebration in Pune’s Bio Diversity Park

Written by Aina on . Posted in India, News, Take Action

Last Friday, 12th of August, was a very special day for us, here at Nektarina. We were celebrating the International Youth Day and our 7th anniversary with a very inspiring activity organized by Suresh More, our E4S Project Manager in India: a tree planting in the city of Pune.

The activity took place early in the morning in the area of Katraj Gujarwadi inside the Bio Diversity Park reservation on the city’s hills and involved the participation of around 60 young children aged 3 to 5 years old, teachers, and representatives of the “Little Diamond” school.

Fifty trees provided by the school, organizers, and supporters of the activity were planted in the Bio Diversity Park reservation, which is an important protected area managed by Pune Municipal Corporation consisting of 978.540 hectares of land on the hills surrounding the city.

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The protected area was created after vast areas of the hills were severely deforested for timber and infrastructural use in the 2000s. Ever since, Pune Municipal Corporation has been protecting the area and promoting its reforestation as the total area represents more than 90% of the city’s green areas, thus has the potential to become the green lungs of this rapid growing city.

We are very satisfied to have been able to organize this meaningful activity involving children from such a young age. The tree planting activity is not only a source of inspiration and knowledge for children and their communities, it also helps to connect and create a bond with nature, with the land, with the origin and growth of a tree, its needs and care. At the same time we are glad to have contributed a little with the reforestation of this area of the city that was formerly so neglected and abused.

We are confident that the experience and the enthusiasm that our young participants showed during the tree planting activity will stay with them forever.

In trees and children there is always hope!

 Click here to check out all the great photos of the activity  

2016 World Environment Day celebration

Written by Aina on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates, Take Action

Last Sunday the 12th of June, Nektarina Non Profit and its local partner in India, Zest Youth Movement celebrated together for the third consecutive year the UNEP – World Environment Day (WED) with a special event in the city Pune.

Each year the WED day is organized around a theme or pressing environmental issue. This year’s chosen theme focused on the illegal trade of wildlife under the slogan Go Wild for Life – Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Around 250 people participated in out event. The wide majority were children and youths but also whole families, members of other social organizations, and public officials, attended.

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The event was officially inaugurated by Pune Municipal Corporation Member, Ms. Bhratitai Kadam who was welcomed by our E4S – Country Manager Mr. Suresh More, with the symbolic present of a small tree.

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An environmental rally commenced early in the morning at 7:30 and went from Sarasbaug to Shniwarwada streets. During the rally participants identified with a special T-shirt, walked in procession carrying banners, flags, and other messages to spread awareness about the environment and how to protect and take care of it.

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Afterwards a community clean-up took place at the Mutha river bank in support to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India Mission national government campaign.

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Finally on a big banner displayed until the end of our event, participants were invited to write and share environmental related messages.

We are very proud of having contributed with our celebration to raise awareness of the need to preserve our environment and all species living on it because we all depend on the well-being of our planet.

A special thank you to all the participants and supporters of our event. We look forward to organizing our next activity in Pune.

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To look at more pictures of our event please follow this link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/122900157@N06/

World Environment Day 2015 in Pune

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates, Take Action

Our World Environment Day celebration was the highlight of June. As we consider the environment to be a matter of vital importance, Nektarina Non Profit were excited to celebrate WED in India with its local partner, Zest Youth Movement. Not simply a celebration, the event aimed to contribute to raising awareness of environmental protection among the population, with a particular focus on youth.

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Over 300 people took part in our rally through Pune City. Among them, students from different institutions and universities, colleges, school children, representatives of civil society organizations, companies and political parties, Pune Doctors association, Chartered accountant association, private coaching classes, and many other. Girls and women have been notably present, as well as disabled and elderly people, which is comforting as we strive towards inclusive and sustainable progress.

The rally was launched by Mrs Bharati Kadam, Municipality Member, and a special guests delegation, among them famous environmentalist and social activist Naur Mohammad Patel and Mr Prakash Kadam, president of the Pragati Foundation.

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Mrs Bharati Kadam introduced the event by addressing the public with a speech. She mentioned Pune’s different environmental problems and how they are affecting the health of people around city. She said waste management, transport systems, and cleanliness should be take in account and we should strive to find permanent solutions for these challenges. She pledged to raise her voice on these issues as a municipality member.

Before the parade set off, student Sneha read a message from Miss Sandra Antonovic, Nektarina Non Profit Co-founder and CEO. In her message, Miss Antonovic said “I am touched, honoured and humbled that so many of you have gathered here today to celebrate the World Environment Day and to show that people do have the power to change things if they come together and act together. As a community, as a nation, as global citizens.

“You are showing us how to be global citizens, how to come together, how to act together; and we are humbled by your example. We are also inspired, and we follow you on your path of sustainable living. Now, more than ever, sustainability is important for all of us.”

The participants then walked in procession through the roads of Pune, showing banners and calling out environmental awareness slogans and reached the polluted riverbank.

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We undertook the riverbank clean-up to support Prime Minister Naredra Modi’s Initiative Swatch Bharat. The cleanup was launched by Shri Dattatray Dhankwade, Mayor of Pune. He gave a speech congratulating attendees for taking part in such initiatives and encouraged people to engage in such programmes often. He also said that more focus should be given to such issues within education because educated people can be more proactive, leading to cleaner and healthier lifestyles for everyone.

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Equipment was distributed and together the participants removed a huge quantity of litter from the riverbank. At the end of the cleanup, everyone took an oath for a clean and non-polluted river.

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Throughout the event, we invited people to write their messages on a 20 ft banner, and there was face painting available, with many people opting for environmental slogans on their face and hands.

We are extremely proud of this celebratory event and thanks to everyone who attended and engaged, we successfully cleaned up a strip of riverbank and raised awareness of this vital cause. The high level of participation drew the interest of the press and we hope to have an even larger event next year!

This Earth Day, Stand up for Youth Engagement

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, General Information, Green Economy, India, News, Regions, Take Action

first-photograph-of-the-entire-earth-nasa-apollo-8-1968Photo Source: Google

It is true that the most celebrated photograph in the world is of Earth, famously called Earthrise. In 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 mission took a photograph of Earth from space. The photograph of a beautiful azure planet floating peacefully changed our perspective of Earth as not just a mere dump. Humanity started viewing it as a delicate living planet where millions of species live together, sharing this vast space and calling it home.

The photograph is also credited for initiating the environmental movement and giving birth to 22 April as Earth Day. For once I am happy to know that Earthrise is the most celebrated photograph in the world and it is not of a woman. Knowing how a woman’s body is objectified these days and is used to sell everything from men razors to boxer shots. This restored my faith in humanity.

We can’t take the earth for granted especially given the fast deteriorating condition of the global environment. Sustainable lifestyle choices are the need of the time. With youth making up half of the population, it is important to raise awareness among young people on how to take care of the earth so that life may persist.

This Earth Day we need to stand up for youth engagement. The Earth Charter Principle 12c stresses the importance of youth engagement.

 “Honor and support the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.”
Education for Sustainability, a project of Nektarina Non-Profit, believes that to establish a just and sustainable society it is important to engage youth, empower them and work to build their capacity. In the past, Nektarina Non-Profit has worked closely with the Earth Day Network, keeping in mind the Earth Charter principles. Nektarina Non-Profit has been offering platforms to youth to learn the values of a sustainable way of life in India, Ghana, Cameroon , Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.  It plans to continue supporting youth, encouraging them to embrace the sustainability vision of Earth Charter.

To celebrate World Environment Day 2014 in India, Nektarina Non-Profit organized a rally in Pune. Students from different institutions, universities, schools, and colleges; representatives of civil society organizations, companies, and political parties were gathered at one event to celebrate World Environment Day. It did manage to raise awareness among young people about the environmental issues and how to make sustainable lifestyle choices, care for the Earth and be an active participant in the environment movement. This year again Nektarina Non Profit will be holding an event in India in June.

Youth engagement is not just a buzzword in the development field. The term has more to do with youth involvement in challenging unsustainable norms and taking responsible actions to create positive change. Instead of waiting for a grand cataclysmic change it is time to give our little contribution, whenever and wherever possible. So this Earth Day let’s stand up for youth engagement and put the planet Earth in the hands of informed citizens of tomorrow.

Rendezvous with Gulalai Ismail, Commonwealth Youth Award winner from Pakistan

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, E-Magazine, General Information, News & Updates, Take Action

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Photo Source: Google

Gulalai Ismail, a 28-year-old Pakistani human rights activist from Peshawar, has been awarded the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work recently. Gulalai was chosen as the winner from the Asia region out of a shortlist of sixteen extraordinary young people from across the Commonwealth.The award recognizes outstanding young people under 30 whose development projects and programs have had significant impact on their communities, countries and across the globe.

Speaking to me, Gulalai said that we should speak up no matter what, “Silence perpetuates more silence and speaking up will bring change, a smaller and a humble change ” she said.

Congratulations Gulalai for being awarded the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work. How does this award affect your work and commitment towards the cause you stand for?

I think this award has increased awareness about the role of young women and girls in promoting democracy, peace and human rights. This award is not just recognition of my work as a person, but recognition of the voices of the women and young people who are working in extremely challenging and life risking situations for their rights and development of their communities. Today, in Pakistan young people makes the largest population dividend, at least 50% of these young people comprises of young women, but unfortunately if we look at the statistics only 18% of women in Pakistan has received more than 10 years of education, 90% of the women are becoming victims of domestic abuse, and millions of girls around the world are forced into early marriages. I believe a decent, peaceful and developed world isn’t possible without investing in gender equality, without making the world a better place for women. This award is the recognition of similar voices.

Can you please tell us a bit about your organization and its work?

Aware Girls is young women led organization, an organization which has been established by girls and young women in 2002 with the purpose of providing a leadership platform to young women where they can get information about their rights, institutes and policies which protect their rights, can strengthen their leadership skills and can act as advocates of change, equality and peace.

Our objectives are to empower young women and girls by strengthening their leadership skills and by creating a conducive environment where young women and girls can exercise their human rights which includes sensitizing communities about different issues and rights of girls and advocating for systems and policies which ensures that young women and girls’ can live a decent life and can exercise their human rights.

We are working on human rights education, girls’ leadership, civic and political empowerment of young women, economic empowerment of young women, sexual and reproductive health rights of young women and on countering and preventing violent extremism in our communities i.e. in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan.

Through our work we are changing the lives of girls for example few years back, Shazia, who was then 14 years old participated in our HIV/AIDS education campaign which inspired her, she took became member of our AIDS Discussion club which was like a leadership incubator for her, she started raising awareness among her peer through peer to peer education about HIV/AIDS prevention. It increased her self-esteem and confidence. When few years later her family told her that she can’t take admission in college because it is against their culture and family values she didn’t accept the decision, she stood for herself and convinced her family that she has to go to college. Today, she is studying in a medical school getting her degree of Lady Health Worker. There are thousands of other stories like this which are encouraging us to keep on going against the odds.

You were just 16 years old when you set up Aware Girls, was it challenging?

Even after working for more than 12 years, it’s challenging. We are still reclaiming our leadership spaces. Our society is yet not comfortable with the idea of a women leader though Pakistan has some amazing women leaders but even then we have to go a long way to create acceptability of women in leadership roles.

There was so much inspiration and sense of responsibility around me, I was determined. I knew one thing only and that was: I have to play my part in making this world a better place, it doesn’t matter how small or big role I play. It would have been really unfair if I would have just let things happen around me and not do anything about it.

How has your father being a human rights activist contributed in your view point considering that it is challenging to voice concerns on extremism and violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa?

My father is amazing, he always taught me “Speak up, no matter how shrill your voice is, no matter how huge the opposition is. If you feel like speaking up- just speak up and don’t worry about the consequences”. He himself is a very brave man and has always challenged the structural inequalities in the society, my parents are my inspiration. When we were young, long before 9/11 my father was put in Jail in a Blasphemy Case because he was speaking up for peace and because he was advocating the idea that we shouldn’t support any militant group in Afghanistan. He fought the Blasphemy case for 7 years, only because he spoke for peace and non-violence. But even then he remained brave enough to speak for peace. I come from the family of fighters- so it was kind of okay to start up a venture for empowering women and girls.

We witnessed what happened to Malala Yousafzai when she tried talking about women issues, wasn’t there a threat for you coming from the same place?

Well as I said, we still have a long way to go! It’s not easy to speak up on women rights, to speak against Talibanisation and to speak for Peace while living in the heart of the Province where the militants have a stronghold. But that makes me stronger, becoming weak and fearful is not an option. The only option we have is to be strong enough to reclaim our society; we can’t leave it to the extremists, militants, and to the patriarchal culture.

There is quite a lot of negative propaganda on social media against me, we received threats, we have been attacked as well but all of this just makes me stronger, happier! Because then I know that yes, my work is bringing change in my community- be it a smaller change.

What do you think is different between you and her that protect you from the extremist elements?

I think Malala can’t be compared to the work of anyone. She is extra ordinarily brave, she was in Swat and she was raising her voice at a really young age when everyone was afraid of speaking up. She was already an icon in Pakistan, a young leader who put her life at risk. For me, she is a hero not because she was attacked but because of what she did before she was attacked. She is a role model for the world!

What message do you have for women on International women’s day?

Speak up- No matter how shrill your voice is, silence perpetuates more silence and speaking up will bring change, a smaller and a humble change.