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Amin calls for innovative solutions for waste collection, recycling

By Our Correspondent
February 22, 2021

Islamabad : The prime minister’s special assistant on climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, has pushed plastic producers for helping manage the menace of plastic waste in a sustainable manner to protect environment and public health.

Addressing a high-level National Consultative Policy Dialogue on Plastic Waste Management here on Sunday, the premier's aide said the government was committed to tackling the growing environmental menace of plastic waste and had taken several policy and legal measures for the purpose under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for Clean Green Pakistan and sustainable consumption and production initiatives for achieving environmentally-sound sustainable development.

"These efforts for sustainable plastic waste management are unlikely to achieve desired results as long as the various stakeholders - involved in manufacturing, sale and use of plastic materials – play their parts under their extended responsibility towards plastic waste management," he said.

Organised jointly by the Ministry of Climate Change and the Pakistan Collect and Recycle Alliance, the day-long stakeholder engagement event held here on Sunday at a local hotel aimed to discuss at length and frame responses to shared challenge of packaging waste and collection mechanism, drive performance improvements and ultimately strengthen collective action for sustainable collection and disposal of plastic waste in a scientific and environmental-friendly way.

The premier's aide said large-scale plastic waste, which accounts for significant share in overall municipal waste, is generated in the country as a result of use of various products of beverage companies and urged the firms to exhibit heightened level of their responsibility to retrieve their plastic waste and recycle it under the extended responsibility measures.

He said there had been enhanced engagements with companies during the last several weeks, which were selling products in plastic bags in the country, to ensure their plastic waste at the tail-end level in neighbourhood markets is also collected and recycled properly as part of the government’s measures for tackling the soaring quantity of municipal waste and choking of drains.

Malik Amin said some firms had pledged to introduce technology measures for managing and recycling the plastic waste generated as a result of the consumption of their products in plastic materials.

He said plastic consumption in Pakistan was on the rise with 15 annual growth, most of which ended up in landfills, unmanaged dumps or strewn about land and water bodies across the country.

"The country’s total annual plastic waste generation in year 2020 stood at around 3.9 million tons, which is expected to increase to 6.12 million tons per annum by year 2050," he said.

The PM's special assistant said around 70 percent of this plastic waste (2.6 million tons) was left unmanaged/mismanaged and was generally left stockpiled in dumpsites, clogging drains or degrading the fertile lands.

He said it had been estimated around 1.3 million tons of plastic could be recycled per annum with the present given facilities and capacity available in the country.

Malik Amin said around 30 million tons of municipal waste is generated across the country.

“Though plastic waste in the municipal waste stream presently accounts for 10 percent to 14 percent but share of plastic waste in the overall municipal waste is rapidly increasing due to growing generation of plastic waste on the heels of galloping population of the country," he said.

Syed Mujtaba Hussain, senior joint secretary of the climate change ministry, said working with the local innovators, industry and governmental organisations was being given importance for developing systemic solutions to promote the transition towards a circular economy for plastics wherein they never became waste or minimise their leakage into environment.