From waste to pretty paper: one woman’s all-organic sustainability initiative

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Maham Farid, a young graduate of Lahore’s National College of Arts, creates gift bags from organic tree pulp paper. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)
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Maham Farid, a young graduate of Lahore’s National College of Arts, places deckle with paper mixture out in the sun to dry. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)
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Once hardened, Maham Farid, a young graduate of Lahore’s National College of Arts, removes the paper from the deckle. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)
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Different kinds of paper packaging created from the brown organic tree pulp paper, and will be available for commercial sale soon. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)
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Maham Farid, a young graduate of Lahore’s National College of Arts, poses for a photograph next to an organic paper banner. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)
Updated 01 September 2019

From waste to pretty paper: one woman’s all-organic sustainability initiative

  • Farid collects plant fibers from Islamabad’s nurseries and makes paper sheets at home
  • The eco-friendly tree pulp paper is much better for the environment than regular paper

ISLAMABAD: A young graduate of Pakistan’s prestigious National College of Arts in the eastern city of Lahore has a unique hobby. She collects organic waste from around the city of Islamabad and brings it home, eventually converting the waste into paper bags and other paper stationery.




Waste fibers from plant nurseries are cut into pieces and boiled in water. 29 August, 2019. (AN Photo)

A student of visual communications design, Maham Farid decided she was passionate about innovative packaging that was eco-friendly.




The softened fibers are put into a blender. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)

“I learned to make these organic bags by myself using and mixing different methods,” she said and added that her creations were an alternative to tree pulp paper which was not eco-friendly and responsible for damaging the environment. 
“The recycled life of my organic brown paper is longer than tree pulp paper,” Farid said.




When the pulp is smooth, it is strained. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)

To collect raw material for the paper products, Farid visits plant nurseries to collect organic fibers. Currently, she uses 10 different types of organic waste to make her products. In a single day, she can make up to ten sheets of paper and then creates different products ranging from paper bags to jewelry boxes and gift wrapping. 




The pulp is spread out on the wooden frame called a deckle. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)

For now, she is only supplying her bags and paper products to friends and family, but based on the enormous demand, she plans on launching a brand soon, she said.




Maham Farid, a young graduate of Lahore’s National College of Arts, removes deckle from water tub while making organic paper. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)

The procedure begins by cutting the organic waste fibers to size and then boiling them. Once at room temperature, she blends the raw material in a common blender and places the blended pulp over a deckle- a removable wooden frame used in paper-making. After this, she shakes the mixture inside a water tub to make a thin stratum of paper and puts the deckle out in the sun to dry.




Maham Farid, a young graduate of Lahore’s National College of Arts,  carries the deckle outside to dry in the sun. 29 August, 2019 (AN Photo)

 


India’s Magsaysay award winner says ‘democracy is in danger’

Updated 07 October 2019

India’s Magsaysay award winner says ‘democracy is in danger’

  • Kumar is pained by the decline of independent institutions that have upheld the flags of democracy for more than seven decades

NEW DELHI: Ravish Kumar is nervous about the “danger that Indian democracy is facing today” and how “a systematic attempt is being made by the ruling establishment in Delhi to suppress all the dissenting voices in the country.

“Journalism prepares you to face the unknown everyday, so I was not really surprised when I got the call from the (Magsaysay) award committee,” Kumar said.

“The problem was that I was asked to keep it a secret until they had made a public announcement. It was painful to keep quiet for almost a month,” he told Arab News with a smile.

“When the news became public, I realized what I had been bestowed with. I feel the award is a vindication of trust in good journalism. People felt as if the award had been bestowed on them,” he added.

It is this concern for democracy and its institutions that earned Kumar the prestigious Magsaysay award for 2019.

Instituted in 1957, it is awarded every year by the Philippine government in memory of its former president Ramon Magsaysay for “integrity in governance, courageous service to the people and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.”

Kumar, who works as a managing editor of India’s leading bilingual TV channel, NDTV, has created a niche for himself in the world of journalism with his daily primetime show, which draws huge audiences from across India. 

At a time when most mainstream TV channels and newspapers have stopped questioning the government and challenging its narrative, Kumar’s reporting takes a critical approach to the lawmakers.

For this constant critique of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the government does not send any of its spokespersons on his show or the channel.

He laments that a large section of the Indian media has become “an extended arm of the government and the mouthpiece of the establishment.”

For his outspoken attitude, Kumar and his family have received threats from “people who are subsidized by the ruling party.”

“I don’t have any hope for the media. It is dead in the country. Just a few are holding the placard of fearless journalism,” he said, adding that “the death of independent media has affected true reporting from Jammu and Kashmir.

“The situation in the region is so bad that after the abrogation of its special status, even the significant moderate voices in India have been pushed to the militant camps,” he said.

Describing the government’s policy on Kashmir as “brazen,” he questioned the “audacity of the government to hold local body elections in the valley when there is a complete lockdown.

Kumar is pained by the decline of independent institutions that have upheld the flags of democracy for more than seven decades, adding that he was aghast at the Supreme Court’s silence on the abrogation.

“Why is it taking so long for the apex court to intervene on the issue of the internet lockdown in the Kashmir valley? Can you imagine the American Supreme Court behaving the way the Indian judiciary is acting on such a crucial issue?” He asked.

He said that the decline of independent institutions such as the media, judiciary and election commission is gradually creating a democratic imbalance.

Kumar understands the award has given an extra responsibility on him and that he felt “burdened with expectations.” So great are those expectations, he has not ruled out entering politics.

“Politics is a good thing. I tell everyone to join politics,” he said, adding that his current responsibility is to “warn people about the danger that is lurking in Indian society.”