As Karachi drowns in garbage, one woman has made it her mission to recycle and reuse industrial waste. Nargis Latif's idea is to create homes and furniture out of Karachi’s garbage — and it is genius.

Her Gul Bahao project transforms plastic materials rejected by factories into bricks that can be made into low-cost shelters, furniture and pretty much anything else. The project is not only aimed at cleaning up garbage, but at reducing its output and prevent it from going up in smoke, which is the common practice of burning garbage.

“There are 5,000 factories in Pakistan that produce tons and tons of waste material every day,” she says. Latif takes their unused ─ rejected and ultimately clean ─ waste and effectively puts it to use.

With a mind for research and innovation, Latif says she set out with the belief that “Karachi should be clean”.

“Since my childhood, I wanted to become a scientist. My desire always was to come up with innovations, to come up with something that will help mankind.”

“We have given new concepts, new ideas, and new products.”

Latif chronicles her journey of two decades and the chronic search for funds to run the project and its research. “It was not easy. I had to beg, borrow and steal. I had to borrow from moneylenders at superlative rates. But the results have been fantastic.”

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