A project to reduce single-use plastic at community events during Ramadan has been launched.

Projects Against Plastic (PAP) launched a pilot project with representatives from mosques to find sustainable ways to serve food and drink while breaking fast.

Following its success, which saved around a tonne of waste per mosque, organisers are campaigning for other cities to get on board.

Mosques in the South West, South East, North West and the Midlands have responded to the campaign and it is hoped more will get involved.

PAP charity founder Naseem Talukdar said: “Protecting the environment is an important aspect of Islam and together we can tackle plastic pollution nationwide.”

There are an estimated 500 mosques in the UK and each one can use up to 3,000 water bottles and 2,000 plastic plates and cutlery sets during Ramadan.

Naseem, who is also director for social responsibility and sustainability at UK Curry Connect campaign group, which works for betterment of the catering industry, believes reducing waste in mosques would significantly benefit the environment. 

He said: “We’re working to get all mosques involved in the campaign and to say no to single-use plastic. 

“If everyone gets involved, we could save around a tonne of waste per mosque. This would benefit those communities directly and the country in general.”

He is encouraging leaders to install water refill stations and said the team would help them to make the transition – with communication and education materials – to reduce waste.

It could lead to saving a tonne per mosque – the equivalent weight of nearly 70 elephants.

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Lord Dick Newby OBE, leader of the Lib Dems in the House of Lords, hosted the nationwide launch of #PlasticFreeRamadan at Parliament.

He said: “If we are to clean up the environment, we’ve got to drastically reduce the use of plastic. Plastic Free Ramadan is showing how this can be done. It deserves every success.”

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year – harming wildlife and polluting the environment. The chemicals released may also be harmful to humans.

A ban on some single-use plastics will come into force in England from October this year, the government has announced. 

Takeaways, restaurants and cafes will have to stop using single-use plastic cutlery, plates and bowls to tackle the growing plastic problem.

PAP, along with Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group (BMSLG), set up to develop and strengthen Muslim communities in Bristol, have been working to tackle single-use plastic at mosques on a voluntary basis.

Organisers have held events to raise awareness and encourage visitors to bring their own bottles – reducing single-use plastic by 75 per cent.

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Sheila El Dieb, Environmental Task Group Chair of BMSLG and and Lord Dick Newby

Sheila El Dieb, Environmental Task Group Chair of BMSLG, said: “By joining with this ground-breaking charity partnership, we believe we are giving the mosques their natural leadership roles at a critical period of the year.

 “Ramadan is a time when Muslims are reconsidering their individual place in the world along with their responsibility to the planet, each other and our fellow global inhabitants.

 “No step is too small to seek to find ecological ways of making our living sustainable; no person is unimportant in this journey.”