NFEH calls for effectively dealing with plastic pollution issue

KARACHI:The National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) has demanded that federal, provincial, and local governments should sit together and adopt a ‘National Action Plan’ to effectively deal with the issue of plastic waste before this polluting issue causes irreversible damage in the country.

In a address in connection with of World Environment Day-2023, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi said that the least Pakistan should do is to ensure that all main urban centers in Pakistan should strictly impose a ban on single-use polythene bags to tackle the problem of plastic pollution. He was addressing a meeting core committee of NFEH to organize an interactive seminar.

This seminar will be held on June 05 at local hotel. Sindh environment minister Ismail Rahoo will be the chief guest on this occasion and Shariq Vohra, Ali Asghar Khadim, Saquib Ejaz Hussain, Faraz ur Rehman and Zahra Ali Syed will join as speakers.

He said the theme of this year’s World Environment Day “Beat the plastic pollution” befittingly highlighted the environmental catastrophe Pakistan and other developing countries had been facing due to the unattended issue of polythene bags and unchecked use of other plastic material in everyday life.

Qureshi highlighted that monsoon season was about to begin all over the country and all the main cities in Pakistan especially Karachi could face again the issue of urban flooding due to choked stormwater drains.

He said that various studies and surveys had repeatedly pointed out that waste mainly generated due to the unattended problem of polythene bags was the main cause behind the choking of the stormwater drains in Karachi.

He lamented that the menacing problem of plastic waste in Karachi not just created the issue of urban flooding during monsoons but also caused massive harm to the marine and coastal environment of the city.

The NFEH President pointed out that around eight million tons of plastic material entered the oceans and seas every year a country like Pakistan having no proper mechanism in place to deal with this issue is a major contributor to this cause of marine pollution.

He said that certain estimates indicated that over 50 per cent of the total waste generated in Pakistan is made up of plastics. Another study pointed out that up to 55 billion polythene bags are in use in Pakistan and this number keeps on increasing every year.

He urged the federal, provincial, and local governments in Pakistan to be on one page to deal with the plastic waste issue of the country before it is too late.

Besides imposing a complete ban on single-use polythene bags the government should promote the use of products made of biodegradable plastic to lessen the damage to the environment and marine ecosystem of the country.

He highlighted that main urban centers in Pakistan especially Karachi lacked a proper system to dispose of tones of solid waste generated every day so it is all the more important to significantly reduce the usage of plastic products in the country.

He said that government and all the relevant agencies of the state should be on one page to adopt the policy of reuse, reduction, and recycling when it comes to dealing with the issue of plastic pollution.

“Given the constant decrease in green cover, unchecked use of fossil fuels, and harmful emissions from the industries and vehicles, it is utmost necessary to impose a complete ban on single-use plastic bags to save our environment from irreparable harm,” Qureshi added.