Sherry calls for addressing plastic pollution

Asim Yasin
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Vice President of the Pakistan People’s Party, Senator Sherry Rehman, urges action against plastic pollution on Earth Day 2024 and stresses the critical importance of addressing plastic pollution and its enduring, detrimental impact on human health and the environment, particularly in a country like Pakistan.

“As we commemorate Earth Day today, this year’s theme, ‘Planet vs Plastics,’ brings our attention to the urgent need to combat plastic pollution and its devastating effects on both human health and the environment, particularly in a country like Pakistan, because the impact of plastic pollution is both severe and long-lasting, causing irreparable damage to life on rarth, ranging from the highest mountains to the deepest ocean trenches,” she said on the occasion of Earth Day 2024 in a statement on Monday.

Citing statistics from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Senator Sherry Rehman pointed out that since the 1950s, 9.2 billion tons of plastic have been produced, with seven billion ton becoming waste, contributing to landfills and the pollution of lakes, rivers, soil, and oceans. She said the UN’s global treaty on plastics needs to be taken forward because plastics know no borders.

“But what is the situation at home?” she said. The PPP leader said, according to the UNEP, Pakistan generates 3.3 million tons of plastic waste annually. Among this vast amount, a substantial portion—250 million tons — comprises plastic bottles, PET bottles, and food scraps.

She said Pakistan also has the highest percentage of mismanaged plastic waste in South Asia, resulting in large quantities of plastic waste ending up in landfills, dumping sites, and water bodies.

“The situation creates severe environmental and human health concerns,” she said. Senator Rehman highlighted that, recognising the urgency of the matter, the ministry of climate change and environmental coordination in Pakistan had introduced a comprehensive roadmap for provinces to combat plastic pollution last year.

“This roadmap, built upon the 7Rs agenda—resource, research, responsibility, recycle, re-use, redesign, and reduce—aimed to address the problem through a multifaceted approach,” she said.

On this Earth Day and beyond, she said, “We must join forces to tackle these pressing issues, which can be achieved by promoting responsible waste management practices while finding alternatives to single-use plastics and raising awareness about the devastating impact of plastic pollution on our planet and local communities.”