The Bohra community joined hands with UN Champion of the Earth, Mr Afroz Shah, in the latest bid to beat plastic in Mumbai. A launch event was held in Mumbai on Wednesday 28th November to announce this drive where Mr Shah and Mr Tor Dahlstrom, Deputy Consul General of Norway, joined Shahzada Ammar bhaisaheb Jamaluddin and over 150 senior community members and academicians at Old Favre Leuba in Badri Mahal, Fort, Mumbai.

From right to left, Adv Afroz Shah, Shahzada Ammar Jamaluddin and Deputy Consul General Tor Dahlstrom

Introducing the program, Burhani Foundation International trustee, Mr Al-Aqmar Nooruddin said, “One of the biggest problems the ocean is facing right now according to the World Economic Report is the amount of plastic that is being dumped into it, and if we go by this pace, there could be more plastic than aquatic life in the oceans by 2050.”

Of all the natural resources at mankind’s disposal, clean water can be deemed the most precious. The Holy Quran affirms the importance of water by stating: ‘through water we have given life to all things’.

It is only natural then that when this life-giving elixir is put at risk through neglect and excessive pollution, mankind should rise in a joint effort to clean and preserve the limited sources of fresh water available today. All the more so, since mankind benefits most from the bounties of nature, and has the most to lose should those bounties wilt and wither.

Ever since its advent, Islam continues to stress the environmental responsibility that falls upon every individual. From the Prophetic tradition that exalts cleanliness as an inherent part of faith, to the civic tents of the sharia that forbid polluting fresh water sources and the unnecessary felling of trees.

This year, celebrating the 75th birthday of His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, the Dawoodi Bohra community has joined hands with Adv Afroz Shah, UN Champion of the Earth, in an effort to clean up water bodies and sensitise community members against plastic pollution in a clean-up drive entitled ‘Turning the Tide.’

Mr Shah being felicitated for his environmental accomplishments

This sustained campaign has been undertaken by Burhani Foundation India (BFI), the Dawoodi Bohra community’s environmental awareness department which has been actively engaged in conservation initiatives for 26 years. The campaign is also supported by the community’s philanthropic initiative, Project Rise, which strives to provide access to adequate nourishment, healthcare, hygiene, and sanitation that lead to a better quality of life.

By teaming up with the man who is synonymous with the world’s largest beach clean-up project, we have an opportunity and responsibility to collectively work towards cleaning water bodies and reducing our plastic footprints,’ he added.

The drive – Turning the Tide – is aimed at creating awareness, inspiring discussions and involving the Dawoodi Bohra community in cleaning water bodies and beaches, thereby actively contributing to turning the tide against plastic pollution. In Mumbai, specifically, community members will volunteer to support Mr Afroz Shah in the mission to clean up and rejuvenate the polluted Mithi River.

Special assemblies will be conducted by Mr Shah with community school students to spread awareness and educate them on ways to reduce single-use plastic consumption. As part of the campaign, plastic waste banks will also be set up at schools and community centres to ensure proper segregation and recycling of waste by linking these centres to the plastic recycling industry network.