ISLAMABAD: Earth Hour 2012 was observed in the capital and throughout the country on Saturday.

A special ceremony was arranged at the National Assembly by Ministry of National Disaster Management in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund to observe Earth Hour 2012 in which firm commitments were made to conserve natural resources.

The Ministry of National Disaster Management (MNDM), by organising Earth Hour, aims to usher a new era of climate consciousness, encouraging personal accountability and behavioural change to facilitate sustainable living in the country.

The chief guest of the ceremony, Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch, said that this event provides us an opportunity to show the people’s collective commitment for energy conservation, climate change, global warming and a sustainable future for the present and coming generations.

Baloch further said that it was a matter of great pleasure that the government was joining 150 countries, 5,200 cities and millions of people around the world in the global initiative for this noble cause. Speaking on the occasion, MNDM Secretary Javaid Malik also said that by celebrating Earth Hour, they were demonstrating their deep affiliations and concentration towards the challenges of energy problems and climate issues.

The ceremony began by switching off the lights of National Assembly building at 8:30pm.

Officials of the MNDM, stakeholders and students lit candles in association with parliamentarians, members of WWF and media personnel. Earth Hour was also celebrated at the government secretariats all over Pakistan. Likewise different ministries and provincial governments also observed the Earth Hour 2012.

Dressed in black t-shirts, candles in hands, their faces aglow with the flame, young men and women stood at the Mazar-e-Quaid to mark the Earth Hour 2012 on Saturday.

Singing the national song “Hum Zinda Qaum Hain” at the top of their voices, the youngsters stood with the world “to show that the people of Sindh are equally concerned about the issues of climate change and global warming,” as Minister for Environment Sindh, Sheikh Muhammad Afzal, put it. He presided over the Earth Hour ceremony which is billed as one of the largest voluntary actions in the world.

The ceremony was organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in collaboration with the Geo TV, the Ministry of Environment and the Alternative Energy Sindh. The Earth Hour was initiated in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 as a step to create awareness among people to conserve energy “by switching off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances for one hour,” read a statement issued by the WWF. Sindh officially became a part of the campaign in 2011.

The idea got viral in no time, and in a span of five years, 135 countries have become part of the campaign.

“It’s a symbolic gesture. A voluntary participation towards conservation of energy,” said Rub Nawaz, director Sindh region, WWF. “People talk a lot about contributing to nature, about clean, sustainable energy, but nothing concrete takes place. An event like the Earth

Hour actually helps to create awareness about issues of conservation. It also saves energy no matter how little, but it does.”

According to Sheikh Mohammed Afzal, the provincial minister for environment and alternative energy, last year the city of Karachi saved about 50-55 MW of electricity by switching off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances for an hour.

Renowned model Nadia Husain who was one of WWF ambassadors for the campaign, said if we collectively save even a minute worth of energy, that makes a huge difference. “For Karachiites who are already compelled to live without electricity for at least 3 hours per day, it is quite a feat.”

The Earth Hour 2012 ceremony was simulteously held in all the major cities of Sindh including Sukkur, Larakana and

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