Pakistan to establish ‘Zero plastic waste cities along the Indus’

Pakistan has planned 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.

Zero plastic waste cities will be established in the Indus Basin of Pakistan 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.

Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, made these remarks today while delivering a statement at an event organized by the Permanent Mission of Türkiye, UNEP, and UN-Habitat. The event was held at the UN headquarters to mark the International Day of Zero Waste.

Ambassador Akram expressed gratitude for the initiatives of the President of the General Assembly and the message from H.E Ms. Emine Erdogan, the First Lady of Türkiye, for their commendable efforts in observing the International Day of Zero Waste.

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

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

The Pakistan UN envoy said that the country 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 inter-governmentally binding treaty on plastic pollution,” he maintained.

Ambassador Akram highlighted 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.

Ambassador Akram thanked all participants and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to addressing the global challenge of waste management.


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