Abdul Muqeet, also known as the “Paper Bag Boy,” has risen from being an ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist. The 14-year-old boy has been a poster boy for environmental conservation, and has promoted public engagement through 180 workshops he has given around the Middle East.
Abdul Muqeet’s environmental initiative has catalyzed a much larger community campaign. During the first year of his campaign, he himself created more than 7,000 paper bags from newspapers and donated them back to the community. He led workshops at schools, private companies and government entities, where he demonstrated how to make paper bags from old newspapers. As a result of his campaigning, his school and a number of companies in Abu Dhabi have started adopting plastic bags over paper bags.
The young boy’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. Abdul Muqeet was one of the youngest recipients of Abu Dhabi Awards and won the accolade in 2011 for his remarkable contribution to conserve environment. The award was presented by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In 2011, Abdul Muqeet was invited to attend the United Nation’s Tunza conference in Indonesia where he demonstrated his commitment for a cleaner environment through his paper bag initiative. He has also received the prestigious Princess Diana award signed by the prime minister of UK, David Cameron.
Abdul Muqeet continues to actively spread environmental awareness, especially in the UAE, India, USA and Indonesia. He shares his journey…
“My endeavor began with collection of old newspapers and then making simple shopping bags out of it.
My main objective was to spread environmental awareness and educate people about the harmful effects of plastic bags. Public awareness is essential to the success of any waste management programme as people will start caring for the environment only on realizing ecological and health impacts of their day-to-day activities.
Industrial pollution, environmental degradation, water scarcity, food wastage, climate change are some of the burning issues nowadays which, if not tackled, will have serious effects on the coming generations.”
He explains: “Plastic wastes, as you may be aware, as one of the biggest source of pollution nowadays. We must not use it for our convenience; rather have the commitment to avoid the usage of plastic. Let us discuss some of the major harmful effects of plastic.
The decomposition of plastic takes a very long time, running into hundreds of years. When we throw plastics all around, animals like camels and cows eat these plastics which choke their digestive systems ultimately leading to a painful death.
Our drainage system is also blocked by accumulation of plastic wastes thus making our city dirty”.
He adds: “We all should realize our duties and responsibilities towards conservation of natural resources. A small step in our day-to-day life can make a big difference for the environment. It is our sole responsibility to care for Planet Earth and make it a better place to live for the present and future generations. I would like to remind one and all that everything on earth can be recycled – but not time. So please don’t waste time, act as fast as possible to save the environment.”
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