By Maryam Qarehgozlou

No waste: Want a change? start with yourself

March 10, 2018

Seeing garbage strewn around is a common scene for many of us while walking down the street to get to work or even during holidays when we are trying to spend a day out in the nature picnicking by the riverside.

This is not pleasant at all. We all keep complaining about the municipalities and how they are not good at what they are doing. But is it the only explanation for waste pollution? The incompetent municipalities?

Of course not. Do you want to see the natural landscapes spotless and pristine? Do you want to have a clean city? Start with yourselves; the real change must come from within ourselves.

Accordingly the “no waste” scheme, which was initiated by the deputy chief for international affairs, innovation and socio-cultural engagement of the Department of Environment (DOE), Kaveh Madani, largely promotes the notion of “starting with ourselves”.

Madani, a renowned scientist, environmental activist and a Reader (Professor) in Systems Analysis and Policy at the Centre for Environmental Policy of Imperial College London, who was appointed as deputy environment chief in mid-September 2017, is determined to address environmental issues by attracting public participation since his appointment.

Since he took office Madani has insisted on transparency and devising short-term plans with tangible accomplishments.

Following the steps of the innovative deputy environment chief, Rasht and Tabriz city councils banned bottled water as well as disposable containers at their offices last week.

On January 22, in a bid for public engagement and following a formal request submitted by Madani DOE’s chief Issa Kalantari has mandated all organizations associated with it to ban the use of bottled water throughout the whole country.

Walking the walk, Madani has begun from themselves by making it mandatory for all the departments and organizations affiliating to DOE to stop using bottled water in an attempt to decrease both its carbon footprint and plastic pollution. 

Steps in the right direction

Following the steps of the innovative deputy environment chief, Rasht and Tabriz city councils banned bottled water as well as disposable containers at their offices last week.

“As many incinerators we set up in the province the main solution to address waste problem is producing less trash which is the most eco-friendly decision,” Madani said on March 3 upon his visit to the northern city of Rasht. 

Coming up with strategies to solve environmental predicaments such as air pollution might mainly rely on the government, however, the public play a significant role in waste management, Madani stated.

Speaking on the budget allocation to the international affairs, Madani noted that the 1.6-billion-rial (nearly $35,000) budget is limited but a part of it is allotted to the “no waste” scheme. 

Garnering international co-op

Over his recent, one-day trip to the northern province of Gilan on March 7, Madani was accompanied with Germán Alejandro Ortega Almeida, Ecuadorian ambassador to Iran, who participated in a clean-up event in the city of Masal and planted a tree as well. 

“The most important thing in resolving environmental problems is raising public awareness,” Ecuadorian ambassador told the Tehran Times over a phone interview on Wednesday. 

There is waste in Iran, Ecuador and everywhere in the world, plastic waste enters the river and then the oceans and the fish feed on them, and this is something that affect the whole ecosystem, Almeida regretted. 

“So, in order to make some publicity and raise public awareness I joined this campaign,” he stated. 

People are not aware of the environmental issues, he lamented, adding, “In Ecuador we are also facing environmental problems. Gilan’s nature is very similar to Ecuador, we have big rivers and the ocean and I think there are a lot of commonalities and that’s why we need to cooperate together.”

He went on to conclude that “I joined this campaign because waste is a global problem and we have to be aware of that so inviting people to take up this challenge is a step to solve this problem.”

Let’s start with ourselves

It is crystal clear that responsible bodies are budgeted for and tasked with addressing and solving the problems, but it is unwise to ignore our parts in making contributions.

Let’s start with ourselves by producing less trash and avoiding throwing out garbage in the nature. 

MQ/MG

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