British mosques and Projects Against Plastic (PAP) have launched a pilot project to ditch plastic cutlery during Ramadan.
As mosques in the South West, South East, North West and the Midlands joined the campaign, organizers hope to get more cities on board.
“Protecting the environment is an important aspect of Islam and together we can tackle plastic pollution nationwide,” PAP charity founder Naseem Talukdar told Asian Image.
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There are an estimated 500 mosques in the UK and each one can use up to 3,000 water bottles and 2,000 plastic plates and cutlery sets during Ramadan.
Naseem, also a director for social responsibility and sustainability at UK Curry Connect campaign group, believes reducing waste in mosques would significantly benefit the environment.
“We’re working to get all mosques involved in the campaign and to say no to single-use plastic,” he said.
“If everyone gets involved, we could save around a ton of waste per mosque. This would benefit those communities directly and the country in general.”
Currently, mosques are working to install water refill stations which would save a ton of plastic per mosque, the equivalent of nearly 70 elephants.
Meanwhile, Lord Dick Newby OBE, leader of the Lib Dems in the House of Lords, hosted the nationwide launch of #PlasticFreeRamadan at Parliament.
“If we are to clean up the environment, we’ve got to drastically reduce the use of plastic. Plastic Free Ramadan is showing how this can be done. It deserves every success,” he said.
PAP, along with Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group (BMSLG), have been working to tackle single-use plastic at mosques on a voluntary basis.
Organizers have held events to raise awareness and encourage visitors to bring their own bottles – reducing single-use plastic by 75 per cent.
“By joining with this ground-breaking charity partnership, we believe we are giving the mosques their natural leadership roles at a critical period of the year,” Sheila El Dieb, Environmental Task Group Chair of BMSLG, said.
“Ramadan is a time when Muslims are reconsidering their individual place in the world along with their responsibility to the planet, each other and our fellow global inhabitants.
“No step is too small to seek to find ecological ways of making our living sustainable; no person is unimportant in this journey.”
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Looking after our planet is one of our responsibilities as Muslims, as declared in the Qur’an: “It is He who has appointed you stewards on the earth… ” (Quran 6:165).
The green Ramadan initiative is not the first among Muslims in the west.
Earlier in 2019, mosques across Britain banned the use of plastics during the holy month.
In 2017, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) launched a campaign urging Muslims, mosques and Islamic center to implement practices and policies that are environmentally friendly.
Muslims in the Greater Toronto Area also launched a project called #Waste Free Ramadan to protect their environment in 2017.