“Mother Earth Day” Marked in Kabul
On April 22, 2018, UNDP’s GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) celebrated International Mother Earth Day by cleaning plastic waste from Kol-e-Hashmat Khan area in Kabul.
Over 250 young people from different universities attended the event, along with representatives of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, and members of the Department of Cleaning of Kabul Municipality.
The participants collected plastic waste using protective gloves and cloth bags. The municipality staff removed the garbage and plastic waste from Kol-e-Hashmat Khan conservation area.
Ghulam Mohammad Malikyar, deputy of National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), said, “As Kol-e-Hashmat Khan is declared as national park of Afghanistan, we need to protect it and make it a sightseeing place again for the people.”
During the campaign, over 1500 posters were handed out, describing the harmful impacts of plastic to members of the public, including shopkeepers, restaurants, bakery workers and taxi drivers.
Haji Khan, a community leader of Qala-e-Hashmat Khan who participated in the event said, “The use of plastic is dangerous for our health, it blocks watercourses, it is not easily degradable and can propagate disease.”
“I promise not to use plastic bags anymore in my home and will convey this message through other community leaders and to all people in our community to use cloth bags and paper bags instead of plastic,” added Khan.
The use of plastic has grown over the last 70 years, due to its versatility and durability. However, its durability is also a big problem when it comes to disposal. Nearly all plastic ever produced still exists in some form. About 300 million metric tons of plastic are produced around the globe every year and around 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste exist on Earth. In other words, plastic waste has grown to problem of global proportions, and looks set to get much worse unless the problem is tackled.
Almost 48 years ago, on 22 April 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. This day was called ‘International Mother Earth Day’. It is now a global event which is marked in 192 countries with different themes every year.