A project to reduce single-use plastic at community events during Ramadan is set to save up to seven tonnes of waste, according to organisers.
Projects Against Plastic (PAP) has worked with representatives from mosques in Bristol to find sustainable ways to serve food and drink while breaking fast.
Charity founder Naseem Talukdar said: “Protecting the environment is an important aspect of Islam. I believe we all have a responsibility to look after our planet as best we can.
“With clear messaging, better awareness and some simple actions, we are able to tackle plastic pollution as a community.”
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. They break their fast directly after sunset and Mosques hold special services and meals.
Plastic dishware replaced
A typical mosque can use up to 3,000 water bottles and 2,000 plastic plates and cutlery sets.
A water fountain and a dishwasher were installed at a mosque as part of a pilot project back in 2019 – reducing waste by 70 per cent.
The mosques were involved as part of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group (BMSLG), set up to develop and strengthen Muslim communities in Bristol.
Sheila El Dieb, Environmental Task Group Chair of BMSLG, said: ‘Working with partnership projects such as this allow Muslim Communities to contribute towards their environmental goals.”
Organisers held events to raise awareness, while installing dishwashers and reusable dishware at seven mosques taking part.
The team also looked at ways to provide access to drinking water and encourage visitors to bring their own bottles – reducing single-use plastic by 75 per cent.
Plastic Free Ramadan roll-out
The mosques which took part were: Easton Jamia Masjid; Green Bank Mosque, Hazrat Bilal Centre in St Pauls; Bristol Jamis Mosque in Totterdown; Tawfiq Masjid & Centre in Barton; Hill,Faizan-E-Madina and Jalalabad Centre, both in Fishponds.
The project, dubbed ‘Plastic Free Ramadan,’ is set to be rolled out across the UK.
Naseem, who has hosted Curry and Conversation sessions across the South West to look at environmental issues and practical solutions, held workshops at several mosques.
Naseem, who is also director for social responsibility and sustainability at UK Curry Connect campaign group, said: “We have marked Ramadan in a more sustainable way.”
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said: “If Bristol is to be a truly sustainable city, we must reduce the amount of plastic we use. Projects like this will make a valuable contribution to our goals.”
Ramadan and charity
The exact dates of Ramadan change every year because Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the Moon.
This year, it began on the evening of Saturday, April 2, and will end May 2 or 3, depending on the moon sighting.
Ramadan encourages Muslims to focus on their faith, empathise with suffering of the poor and develop self-discipline. It is a time when people help by offering food and money to those less fortunate.
Naseem, who has helped feed homeless people in Bristol and Somerset and has received a High Sheriff’s Award from the Lord-Lieutenant Bristol in recognition of his contribution to the city, said: “It’s important to help others who are less fortunate and show that we care.”
Eid marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated with a feast, gifts and donations to charity.