ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was baffled to learn that the United Kingdom (Iran, United Arab Emirates), Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, United States of America, and Belgium were the top 10 countries exporting waste to Pakistan.
The list includes names of some friendly countries. They also often voice concerns about climate change issues.
The resemblance with “Imported Government”
The committee members received amusing responses to the words “imported waste.” The country’s political landscape has been echoing with words such as “imported government” since Imran Khan was ousted as he blamed foreign power for removing and installing the incumbent rulers.
A committee member asked, “Why did Pakistan never object” to importing waste. He also inquired why federal and provincial governments, embassies, relevant departments, and ministries never attempted to stop it.
Most senators were shocked to learn that Pakistan was a waste destination among the world’s most advanced countries.
Some senators asked why they were importing waste from overseas. They also inquired how long it has been going on and whether Pakistan could handle such waste. Others wondered, “Why don’t we export waste?” While others laughed and said that the streets were full of toxic and non-toxic garbage, it wasn’t being exported to any of the ten top-10 countries.
PTI’s Senator Faisal Javed giggled when he said that “Imported Waste Na Manzoor” was a slogan PTI has been using since March. This tacit reference to the ex-PM’s story of imposing an importing government on the country is subtle. Javed said, “Increase exports and waste export.”
As Senator Taj Haider laughed, other members agreed. The committee learned that most of the imported waste was being dumped at sea and dumped the rest in major cities after transporting the goods.
Members of the committee expressed their dismay at an enormous import of hazardous waste from offshore using unsafe practices, putting public health and ecology at risk.
The federal cabinet was informed last Tuesday that Pakistan produces 30 million tonnes annually of waste and imports 80,000 tons of bundled waste from other countries. This has been causing environmental, health, and groundwater contamination problems.
Pakistan’s First-Ever National Hazardous Waste Management Policy 2022
The committee chairperson, Senator Seemed Ezdi, appreciated Pakistan’s first-ever National Hazardous Waste Management Policy 2022. It was drafted by the Ministry of Climate Change and approved by the federal cabinet. The chair suggested that sufficient resources be allocated to the ministry to improve policy implementation.
Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Remman, said it was a landmark policy and long-due legislation. She stated that the policy would provide a direction because all provinces have agreed to implement the legislation as part of the GSP Plus implementation.
She proposed penalties for hazardous waste origin, allowing such cargo to be transported without verifying safe transport methods on the other side. The minister said that China had closed the import of hazardous materials and that Pakistani authorities were allowing more.
She was also credited with stating that “this system is in many South Asian countries which must be controlled and classified to ensure safe disposal of toxic waste for reuse processes.”
After knowing all this, anyone having some sense will be baffled. As most developed countries are always in the front row of making the environment sustainable, but at the same time, they are wing selfishness by handing over hazardous waste to the country which does not have skilled labour to handle that waste, And that will eventually end up creating Lethal environmental and health effects and which will affect the world as a whole.
It is also shocking to know that the developing countries do not consider the people’s problems as their own. According to the survey, almost 60-70% of the waste is being collected in Pakistan daily, so the waste left on the street will surely cause many problems, casualties, and much more.
Almost every year, hundreds of casualties happen due to waste-related diseases like dengue fever.
The whole country(every city) needs to work a lot harder to combat their solid waste management issues in which they are failing badly, so in this situation, how can a country like Pakistan even think about importing waste from developed countries.
Waste generated from developed countries will be much more complex than that generated from developing countries, so it will be an uphill battle for developing countries to handle that kind of waste. In Pakistan, they are mostly not covering the garbage collection dumpers; garbage collection vehicles can be termed as mobile sources of air pollution.
You will be more surprised that Pakistan could not handle its waste and hired a Turkish waste management company (Albayrak) in 2013 for solid waste management in Lahore and Rawalpindi. Albayrak has worked for the last 7 to 8 years.
Instead of risking the lives of developing countries, developed Nations must handle this waste on their own because they have all the resources, skilled labour, and modern technology. They can manage this more efficiently by minimizing the effects. (health effects and environmental effects).
People of Pakistan must spread awareness about the issue and raise their voices as much as possible so that their health and environment should not be compromised in any case. If the government wants to import the waste, make Pakistan a zero waste country.
Then waste must be recyclable, and we must have experienced and skilled professionals to handle that.
In short, the sustainability of the whole planet and the health of every human being should be the top priority.No one should be allowed to use developing countries as their dumpsites.