Youngsters in Bahrain have called for a change in mentality among citizens towards environment issues in the country. The Bahraini society in general laughs at eco-friendly ventures and this must change, observed a group of students of Bahrain Polytechnic. People should feel the dire need and understand their responsibility towards society and nature and overcome this ‘scoffing off’ attitude, they re-iterated.
Eight students who were at the Northampton University, in the UK, on a two weeks’ ‘Green Earth Scholarship’, bustled with enthusiasm when they spoke about their experience.
“The program was on environmental studies which included recycling, ecology, waste management, water footprint, carbon treatment and much more,” said Amal Al Saffar, a logistics student.
“Basically the idea was for us to learn with a purpose to get back with ideas and implement those inBahrain.
“The scholarship did much good to us, asBahrainis recently found focusing on environmental issues,” she said.
“We do not have many in depth courses inBahrain’s University curriculum which guides us in these lines,” she added.
Taking care of the planet is an emotional attitude that one has to develop within, observed the youngsters.
“The field trips during our programs were highly informative and inspiring,” added Al Saffar.
The youngsters said that they will be soon launching an event in the Polytechnic to raise the awareness of waste management among students.
“We will also be launching a website to support all such activities, which will be a platform for all those who are interested to express,” said the only boy in the group, IT student Ali Farhad Talahi.
“Online exchanging features on recycling will be included,” he said.
A long term prospect of the group is to launch a business on ‘cradle to cradle’ concept.
“Cradle to cradle leads to zero waste as it makes use of every single part of an item into other forms,” explained,” Zahra Salman, a business student.
“There is yet another concept – cradle to grave – where the parts die off,” she added.
‘Early start’ matters
Awareness drives must begin at the level of primary schools, opined the youngsters.
“The feel for nature and environment must come from within and it’s more of making it a habit,” said Fatima Abdali, a mechanical engineering student.
“Apart from incorporating lessons in the curriculum, more of fun-filled activities, projects, workshops and field-trips will work better.
“These activities should be made compulsory, right from the start so that the habit is inculcated in the future generations,” said Abdali.
“Environmental activities should always aim at a long term impact and making these activities optional limits it to a few enthusiasts, which does not serve the purpose,” added Faten Asad, yet another business student.
Compulsorily incorporating these is laying the foundation towards a better future, they opined.
“A simple activity might strike a spark, which can inspire many others,” said Asad.
Cold to environment crises
“People react so fast and well to financial crises, but why so cold to environmental crises?” echoed the group in unison.
“Recycling is money making too and businesses on environmental-friendly projects could be launched which can be a great beginning,” said Zainab Habib Alali, a business student.
“We visited a shop in recycling, which was a new concept for us.
“Instead of throwing things we don’t need any more, we can recycle – not a sale – it’s just that we leave it there and someone who might need it can pick it up,” she said.
“Businesses get involved in recycling when they pick up things from these shops and fix it, mend it or use parts of it and ultimately sell it,” said another business student Mariam Zaman.
A fashion enthusiast herself, Zaman said, “In UK we came across top brand makers making new designer brands from recycled materials.
“The finished product hardly shows a recycled touch,” she said.
“Our community inBahrainuses a lot of clothes and we consider approaching a lead designer in our country to implement this.
“But the limitation with this venture inBahrainis that we have a hard job of setting the ‘mind frame’ of people ‘right’.
“Acceptance to wear clothes from ‘reused’ materials is too much a taboo in our community, we have observed.
“So it needs a daring top brand maker in the country to take the plunge,” said Zaman.
Women more environment friendly?
The majority girls group agreed that women being more ‘emotional’ are sensitive to environment issues and can make a ‘big’ impact.
“A mother who manages the house can be more easily explained about the separation of waste and its worst impacts on the future – which she easily identifies with her children” noted Abdali.
“Also women are more obsessed with shopping,” agreed the girls.
“With a slight effort they can reduce the usage of plastic, shift over to nature-friendly products and abstain from animal products,” they said.
They also hinted that the men in the country aren’t ‘keen’ and needs a serious change in their attitude.
Talahi, the only boy in the group said that the program had helped to change his mentality towards environment.
How Green is Bahrain?
The youth agreed that the Kingdom is still in its infancy in its eco-drive moves.
“We really wishBahrainwas greener, but ultimately we have to understand our geographical limitations,” said Talahi.
However, the other strengths of the country must be tapped to the best, he said.
Small things can make a BIG difference
“Opting to ride bicycles is a good thing, though we cannot do that round the year due to the extreme weathers,” said Salman.
“Even though, we should encourage that by making provisions such as having a lane for riders on roads and parking lots for bicycles,” she said.
“This also saves us from the hazards of gas emission and reduces accidents.
“We are on the hotter side of the climate most of the year and we should be tapping the solar energy to the maximum,” noted Zaman.
“We are an island and the water around us can be best used for any number of eco-friendly initiatives,” she said.
Recycling must be drilled into people’s minds and awareness towards changing simple behaviors can make a big difference, the youth said.
“Separating waste, switching off lights when not in use, using water wisely, reducing paper printing, avoiding the usage of plastic bags – all these are basically a matter changing one’s habit,” said Al Saffar.
She also suggested that the plastic bags, which are now amply distributed in shops, must be charged, so that people would tend to use them less.
“The plastic bags used here are high on their thickness as well as there are no awareness messages displayed on the hazards of these bags on it,” she pointed out.
“We can neither measure the greenery that we aim at nor can we compareBahrainwith any other countries,” said Salman.
“We should make the best of what we have,” she added.
The annual scholarship program, the second in a row was held at the ‘Leather Centre’ of the university from 28 August to 10 September.
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