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At UN, Pakistan renews commitment to beat plastic pollution, bolster waste management

At UN, Pakistan renews commitment to beat plastic pollution, bolster waste management

Pakistan

“We plan to implement ‘Zero Plastic Waste Cities along the Indus’," says envoy

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UNITED NATIONS (APP) - Pakistan has plans to fight plastic pollution and improve waste management system, Ambassador Munir Akram has said, amid global efforts to sustain a liveable planet.

“We plan to implement ‘Zero Plastic Waste Cities along the Indus’ under the overall framework of the ‘Living Indus Initiative’ to tackle the challenge of plastic pollution,” the Pakistan envoy told an event organized by the Mission of Turkiye, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and UN-Habitat.

The event was held at the UN headquarters in New York to mark the International Day of Zero Waste. The Day highlights both the importance of bolstering waste management globally and the need to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram expressed appreciation for the initiatives of the President of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis and the message from Ms. Emine Erdogan, the First Lady of Türkiye, for their commendable efforts in this regard.

In Pakistan, he said zero plastic waste cities will be established in the country’s Indus Basin as part of this initiative, starting with the largest cities in the Basin such as Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Multan, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.

Highlighting the global challenge of waste generation, Ambassador Akram emphasized the significant amount of waste produced annually, including municipal, solid, and hazardous waste.

Pakistan, with a population of 241 million people, generates 30 million tonnes of municipal solid waste each year, with 10 to 14 percent of it classified as hazardous waste, he told delegates.

“Additionally, Pakistan receives an average annual tonnage of 80,000 hazardous waste from various parts of the world.”

Pakistan, he said, has also formulated the National Hazardous Waste Management Policy in 2022 in response to the challenge of hazardous waste management.

Regarding plastic waste, Ambassador Akram noted that Pakistan generates 3.9 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, with only 25% to 30% being managed.

A significant portion of plastic waste, approximately 164,332 tonnes, is carried by the Indus River system to the sea each year. “It is in this context that Pakistan looks forward to the conclusion of an intergovernmental binding treaty on plastic pollution,” Ambassador Akram said.

Ambassador Akram stressed the importance of promoting a circular economy and emphasized the need for changing societal attitudes, financial resources, and technology for waste management.

He also stressed the application of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility as a central component of policy interventions to achieve the goal of waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.