Professor Gatrad OBE founded WASUP (World Against Single Use Plastic) in 2017. Ever since that time two people have been his trusted friends and confidantes – Balbir Seimar is one. With Balbir in charge of canal and litter picking events, WASUP has carried out over 30 canal cleaning events and innumerable street litter picking events. Balbir is now the Chief WASUP Community Engagement Ambassador.
WASUP is attached to many organisations including the Commonwealth Games and the Miss England Pageant. Being attached to United by Birmingham 2022, WASUP’s profile will be raised in 53 Commonwealth countries. Many Miss England finalists, including Jennifer Carless who is Miss Yorkshire, expound the principles of WASUP and are involved in the ‘Let us make a spectacle’ campaign. Here the girls collect discarded but reusable plastic glasses from opticians and the Lions Club sends them to various poor resourced countries. Under Jennifer’s stewardship WASUP has now spread nationally and internationally to 13 countries.
WASUP has 4 principles:
Raising Awareness, education, litter picking and putting pressure on the plastic supply chain.
Prof Gatrad has given talks to well over 100 schools, corporates and faith organisation locally, regionally and internationally about the dangers of plastic entering our food chain. However, during the Pandemic, it has been difficult to deliver these principles effectively – hence a slight change in direction towards WASUP Gardens for schools and communities. WASUP already has 4 gardens - 2 in Walsall and 2 in the region.
Children in schools will come to learn about biodiversity and what is needed for plants to grow, and also appreciate and respect the environment with a long-term view on understanding sustainability.
They will carry out nature-based activities and bring wild life into the garden, such as hedge hogs or bees to live.
Prof Gatrad’s vision is that ‘growing a garden’, with wild life will be fun for children too, with lots of different types of minibeast and insects such as ladybirds, bees, spiders and woodlice living in bug hotels. These minibeasts can then use bug hotels as a safe space to shelter, lay their eggs, raise their young, and seek refuge from predators.
More recently WASUP was very fortunate in being invited by Paul Mason and really grateful to him, for allowing adoption of a small area at Goscote Greenacre. Many Muslim ladies from Walsall joined Balbir Seimar and made this a memorable event – the first WASUP Community Garden.
Prof Gatrad with Balbir Seimar on his one side and Jennifer Carless, the International Chief WASUP Ambassador on the other. has driven
this project relentlessly and made it a success. WASUP could not have done it without the love, affection and support from the residents of Walsall.
Member since: 4th February 2019
Managing Director of an award winning law firm
Ian Henery Solicitors Ltd
Award winning poet and playwright