Mohammad Ilyas Burney
Dr. Burney's research and field work in Pakistan on the guinea worm disease which is spread by contaminated water and threatened 360,000 people in 400 villages has eliminated the disease in pilot area villages and provided strategies for its eradication in Pakistan by 1989. A total of 106 cases in 35 villages were reported in 1991. 22 villages had only one case each.
Shomb Sultan Khan
General Manager of an Aga Khan Foundation Rural Support Programme which encourages forest management and sustainable agriculture. Since 1982, the programme has promoted sound environmental management and small-scale income- generating activities which have benefitted 800,000 rural people in northern Pakistan.
Dr. Hassan is a leading corporate lawyer who has been actively involved in drafting conservation legislation with governments since 1975. The 1983 Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance is legislation proposed by Dr. Hassan. Since 1987, he has prevented contamination of ground water from untreated tannery wastes in the city of Kasur. In 1989, he formed the Environmental Protection Society of Pakistan. He has been IUCN's regional councilor for West Asia and deputy chairman of the Environmental Law Commission. Dr. Hassan also chairs WWF's Scientific Committee and is a member of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council, the highest official body on environmental matters in Pakistan.
Paasban / Family Planning Association
For the past 12 years, The Paasban Women's Development Programme has been working on a national strategy to bring women into the mainstream of development to improve their economic and social status.
In 1986, the women introduced smokeless chulhas (stoves). Traditional mud stoves used by the majority of the rural population consumed a great deal of already scarce fuelwood. The project team thus organized a series of 'chulha' workshops to train women to build, repair and maintain chulhas. Fuel consumption has now been reduced by 30 per cent and the women expend less energy gathering wood. Health conditions have also improved as smoke is reduced in communities.
Nafisa is a journalist for Newsline publications based in Karachi, Pakistan. She has written articles for her monthly magazine, but three of these stand out in support of environmental conservation. One is an article on a village whose inhabitants use dirty water from the Lyari river for all their needs, thus resulting in disease. The article mobilized the villagers into action and they now enjoy the benefits of a water project funded by the World Bank. Another article resulted in pressure against the government from building a highway across a national park. The highway has since been rerouted outside the wildlife preserve. A third article also pressured the government, through a court order, to stop the order which allows the hunting of the Houbara Bustard.
On 14 August 1993, Zulekha Ali, a young journalist who had made a name for herself in environmental journalism in a short career spanning just one year, lost her life to the waves while saving another girl from drowning.
She did a series of investigative environmental stories for her newspaper, The News, and almost everything she wrote triggered action because she followed up. Last July, the local town committee decided to turn the only children's park in the area into a maternity home, despite the fact that there were already several homes there. Zulekha did a story on the conversion mobilizing the community who took the matter to court. A stay order was obtained and the park was saved.
Last summer a dozen people drowned in the sea while celebrating the festival Eid. The cause? Illegal sand excavations and inadequate beach safety. Zulekha Ali highlighted this issue and as result Section 144 was imposed in the area prohibiting sand excavation.
Last May, a lethal chemical used in the dyeing industry was dumped along Lyari River, causing the death of two people. Zulekha followed the trial of the chemical and discovered that about 1,460 drums of the same chemical were laying in the customs warehouse. Zulekha's investigation revealed that a large number of chemicals were still dumped. This report resulted in the involvement of environmental agencies and thanks to her efforts toxic chemicals are not treated in the same passive way.
Safina Z. Siddiqi
When nearing the age of 60 - a time of retirement for most people - Safina Z. Siddiqi was just gearing up to lead the women in her neighbourhood in Karachi in a campaign to improve their environment and living conditions. Her living-room wall - plastered with "before" and "after" pictures - portrays the fruits of the women's efforts. Before, the streets were pitted with potholes, open sewers spilled over contaminating drinking water and uncollected garbage accumulated into stinking heaps on the road sides. Since 1989, when Siddiqi founded the Karachi Administration Women's Welfare Society (KAWWS), the sites have changed. The women - the majority of whom are housewives with no university education like Siddiqi - pressured civil servants to help them build and repair roads in neglected areas, fix sewers and install street lights. The women themselves established a garbage collection system, planted tree saplings, negotiated a caretaking system to ensure their survival, and established eight parks - one which replaced a sewage pond. In 1992, KAWWS made quality drinking water a national issue when it filed public interest litigation before the country's Supreme Court as a human rights case. Siddiqi and her neighbours' efforts have attracted more members and international recognition. Membership has swelled to more than 100 and Siddiqi's story was one of 200 community development successes reported during the 1991 Global Assembly of Women and Environment in Miami, USA.