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Saturday June 22, 2024

Joint efforts to combat plastic-related pollution stressed

By Our Correspondent
June 06, 2023

LAHORE:The Urban Unit marked World Environment Day 2023 arranging a panel discussion on Plastic-Free Environment with renowned international and nation environmentalists, educationists, media persons, experts from private and government sectors and other experts from relevant sectors.

This year's theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ attempts to refocus on solutions to plastic pollution. The WED, celebrated annually on June 5 every year, acts as a global platform for raising awareness and encouraging action on environmental issues. This year marks the 50th anniversary, which will once again focus on plastic pollution crisis.

The panel discussions featured experts, including renowned lawyer Rafay Alam, Communication & Environment Expert Arshed Rafiq, MD ISP Environmental Solutions Dr Zilley Maryam, Associate Professor GCU Lahore Abdul Sattar Nizami, Programme Manager United Nations Mushtaq Ahmed Memon, Coordinator at UNDP Fidousi Sharmin, Urban Unit Experts SWM, Transportation and Communication Asif Iqbal, Dr Murtaza Bukhari and Memoona Arslan Bhatti respectively.

The discussions focused on raising environmental awareness and encouraging action at individual, community and global levels. It was initiated as an opportunity for people from all walks of life, including government, businesses, NGOs, and the general public to discuss steps to protect the environment. The participants encouraged people to live more sustainably by reducing plastic waste and replace plastic with sustainable and effective solutions. The panelists shared best international practices to reduce plastic waste and highlighted the concept of circular economy to make best possible use of plastic.

The concepts of corporate accountability, commercialism, accountability of consumption of resources, abusive human labour creating poverty in other parts of the world, industry academia linkages, secondary and tertiary recycling, economic and financial incentives and consumer awareness of product conservation probabilities, were also discussed broadly by the experts. Closing the interactive sessions, the COO Urban Unit Aman Anwer Kedwaii said, ‘Plastic is a problem because it is ubiquitous and, unlike other materials, does not biodegrade. As a result, it suffocates marine life, damages soil, poisons groundwater, and can have serious health consequences. This crisis can only be tackled through collaborative efforts by industry, government, researchers and the end-users. Users must be made to understand the gravity of this looming issue and urged to buy, use and dispose of plastics responsibly.’

The role of local councils in enforcing and devising plastic use and disposal related regulations (related to manufacturing, after-use recovery, and disposal), and augmentation of a holistic waste management solution encompassing segregation/recovery facilities to substitute current waste management practices, were also discussed.

LWMC CEO Babar Sahab Din attended the discussion as chief guest. He emphasised the collaboration of government and private sector to address the plastic pollution in Pakistan particularly in Lahore. Deputy CEO LWMC Fahad Ahmed also joined the closing session and shield distribution ceremony.