Climate Minister: Plastic use in Pakistan rising at an alarming rate of 15% annually

Annually, 2.6 million tons of plastic waste is left unmanaged to stockpile in dumpsites, clogging drains, and degrading fertile lands, he said.

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(AFP/File)

Pakistan’s plastic consumption is rising at an alarming annual rate of 15% and ends in landfills, dumps, or strewn about land and water bodies across the country.

This was stated by the Prime Minister’s special advisor on climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, on Sunday.

The minister was directly addressing the big producers of plastic products at a national dialogue on plastic waste management in Islamabad.

Aslam said the country’s total annual plastic waste in 2050 would increase to 6.12 million tons from its current level of 3.9 million tons annually if not managed adequately.

Annually, 2.6 million tons of plastic waste is left unmanaged to stockpile in dumpsites, clogging drains, and degrading fertile lands, he said.

Last year, the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, released by think tank Germanwatch, ranked Pakistan fifth on a list of nations most affected by climate change and pollution over the last two decades.

This was despite the South Asian nation contributing only a fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, Hunza was the first district in the country to ban plastic shopping bags.

The district was followed by Islamabad, where the local government banned the manufacture, sale, and distribution of plastic carrier bags as part of the prime minister’s “Clean, Green Pakistan” campaign.

Nevertheless, in March last year, a United Nations (UN) report said the government’s ban on single-use plastic bags did not address the root of the problem.

“It has become very clear that despite recognition of the problem, there’s a dire need for increased levels of dedication, innovation, and investment,” the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in its report.

“A blanket ban of single-use plastics by the authorities will not alone solve the problem.”

The Prime Minister’s aide also said it was estimated that around 1.3 million tons of plastic could be recycled annually in currently present facilities.

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