FaithPlans participant Eco-Sikh UK has teamed up with the UK Environment Agency in the battle against plastics pollution.
Part of a wider community of some 30 million members, Eco-Sikh UK is a non-profit organisation focused on inter-faith responses to climate change. In joining with the Environment Agency it is seeking to engage with audiences throughout the United Kingdom on the issue of avoidable plastics.
In 2018, the UK government's 25 Year Environment Plan set a goal of achieving zero avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Broadly, the government defines 'avoidable plastic waste' as plastics which are single use or unnecessary – such as in certain kinds of packaging.
Putting this into practical terms, Eco-Sikh UK is helping draw attention to the waste created as part of religious celebrations – things such as food waste, candles, decorations and fireworks.
'Sikh families from across the world will soon come together to mark Bandi Chhor Divas, an important festival in the Sikh calendar that coincides with climate change conference COP26 this year,' said Environment Agency project lead Claire Horrocks. 'What better time to share positive ideas for sustainable celebrations and encourage people to reduce waste?'
Eco-Sikh has helped create a series of posters in English and Punjabi that will be displayed in the community and places of worship to draw attention to the issue. Eco-Sikh UK representative Amandeep Kaur Maan stressed that such environmental awareness is in line with faith principles.
'Bandi Chhor Divas is a time to reflect on how our actions affect the world,' he said. 'Just as our Guru demonstrated selflessness in the way he helped others, we too should carry his message forward. This is by being responsible when celebrating so that we don’t harm the environment.'
The Environment Agency has said that it hopes to work with other faiths to deliver similar messages to places of worship throughout the UK.