#RamadanPlastikfasten is the hashtag many Muslim organisations in Germany have been using this Ramadan, in their social media postings about different events that they organised. The hashtag and the campaign behind it was started by an organisation called NourEnergy at the beginning of Ramadan this year. The campaign called Muslims to reduce the consumption of plastic as much as possible during the month of Ramadan in the sense of fasting from plastic. The idea was taken up by many students organisations and community groups in different parts of Germany and also outside Germany.
Plastic pollution is a hot topic of discussion these days. A huge amount of plastic that we use unfortunately ends up in our water bodies and has devastating consequences on the marine ecology. Plastics can potentially even end up in the human food chain and pose a serious health hazard for human beings. In this context, when we look at regular Iftar gatherings that are organised during the month of Ramadan, a lot of plastic is unfortunately used by Muslims, hence unwittingly contributing to the ecological degradation. The aim behind the RamadanPlastikfasten campaign is to inspire people to be responsible towards the ecology and environment: what better time to instill something good in people than during the month of Ramadan. After all Ramadan is the month in which it is expected of Muslims to change into better human beings. And an important part of being a better human being, in our times, is to be aware of the ecological costs of our individual actions. This is something which is inherent in our religious teachings but is missing in our actions. In this regard, NourEnergy published a concise Green Iftar guide, with guidelines to help people to organise Iftar in a ecologically conscious way. The Green Iftar Guide even made it to the Instagram feed of Imam Suhaib Webb, whose social media posts and podcasts are known to call people towards sustainable lifestyle and ecological consciousness.
NourEnergy, the organisation that started this campaign, is meanwhile is the first Muslim environmental organisation in Germany. However, RamadanPlastikfasten is only one of the campaigns this organisation has undertaken. From its founding in Darmstadt, Germany, NourEnergy has now grown into a countrywide group of professionals and students, united by common motivation and aims. The common motivation behind their work, according to the information provided on their website, is the Islamic teachings of protecting and nurturing our spiritual and physical environment. Their work broadly cover two areas–technical consultancy support and spreading awareness in matters relating to the environment and ecology. The focus area of our technical expertise so far has been providing solar energy solutions for social institutions like mosques, churches, orphanages etc. They already have some projects under their belt that have been successfully implemented and are running since years, in addition to the ones that are currently being planned and implemented, in Germany and also abroad.
The Green Iftar campaign of NourEnergy this year has been a success. Muslim students associations in different cities, mosques, and community organisations took part in the campaign and implemented the Green Iftar guide at their Iftar gatherings, in part or completely. A common feature in all these was that they reduced the plastic use at Iftar, in some cases by 100%. In many cases compost-able tableware was used, in some cases mosques invested in long-term dishes and tableware, some student groups rented dishes from the university canteen, while as some asked their guests to bring (at least a part of the) tableware with them when coming for Iftar. This way the huge amount of plastic waste that would have been generated was avoided, thanks to the #RamadanPlastikfasten campaign.
Charity Week Germany also chipped in to the campaign, by calling for a plastic free Taraweeh, by asking people to avoid buying plastic-packaged water bottles during and before the prayers, and instead taking water bottles from home to the masjid. It got a huge response with people posting photos of their water bottles in masjids.
Every single plastic bottle or a plastic tableware less counts! With this motivation and inspiration, we hope that we carry the taqwa and ecological consciousness gained during Ramadan into the rest of the year.
This article was written by Tavseef Mairaj