Promoting sustained campaigns that raise awareness on the dangers of using plastic products would help push the growth of a “zero-waste lifestyle in Qatar,” an official of a Doha-based environmental youth group has said.
Neeshad Shafi, co-founder of Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCMQA), said the group seeks to inspire young people in the country and even abroad to put their ideas into action in order to protect the environment.
“We foster positive visioning and creativity; although our focus is to raise awareness on the dire state of our environment, we aim to develop and promote ‘positive possibilities’. We believe in using creative ways to engage and involve people, encouraging them to imagine the future they want to inhabit,” Shafi told Gulf Times in a statement.
“We are part of an experimental, learning network. Being part of a network means we can create change more quickly and more effectively, drawing on each other’s experiences and insights.
“We want to acknowledge and learn from failure, as well as success if we’re going to be bold and find new ways of reaching and engaging with the community. We will not always get it right the first time. We will be open about our processes and will actively seek and respond positively to feedback,” he stressed.
According to Shafi, AYCM Qatar believes the real problem of plastic pollution “has grown so large,” and that tackling the problem is a collective effort because “no individual person can make a real difference.”
He stressed that the issue “is a universal problem with a thousand different causes that must all be addressed systemically.”
Shafi expressed his reservations on the effectiveness of beach cleanups, saying only “9% of all the plastic ever produced has ever been recycled,” and that the “marine plastic problem continues unabated.”
“The only way to really make a difference is to stop plastics from entering the ocean in the first place by stemming its source and this can only be achieved when plastic producers are made accountable. So, we need our government and industry to speed up this translation by first bringing effective legislation and bringing up eco-friendly ventures,” he explained.
Shafi said the group is working to kick-start a first-of-its-kind initiative towards a ‘zero-waste’ lifestyle in Qatar to see how the zero-waste and plastic-free mindset becomes mainstream in the country.
“As part of our strategic initiatives, we will be host series of workshops, webinars, conferences, study tours, and produce case studies and policy papers, as well as long-term online and offline campaigns, thus introducing the right knowledge to implement change and change social behaviours rather than mere beach clean-ups, which has not changed the public perspective.
“We will call for good design and denounce products that are not made with circularity in mind. Moreover, through sustained campaigns we will push for the growth of a zero-waste lifestyle movement in Qatar,” Shafi added.