Through its Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan has now joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership.
Ahead of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly, where plastic pollution will take centre stage, the ministry will work with GPAP to launch a National Plastic Action Partnership, a platform that is currently being implemented in Ghana and Nigeria, amongst other countries.
The Partnership creates a circular economy framework for plastics through locally led, locally driven platforms to bring together the country’s most influential policymakers, business leaders and civil society advocates. This group will deliver a national action plan for radically reducing plastic pollution and connect high-potential solutions with strategic financing opportunities.
Pakistan’s waste accumulated is the equivalent height – 16,500 m – of two K2 mountains, the world’s second highest mountain. Plastic accounts for 65 per cent of this total waste, ending up on beaches, scattered across land or mismanaged dumpsites, which complies PET bottles, caps, plastic bags, balloons, packages, shoes, discarded fishing nets and wrecked apparatuses. The government of Pakistan estimates that 87,000 tonnes of solid waste is generated per week, mostly from major metropolitan areas such as Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.
“We are thrilled that Pakistan has chosen to partner with GPAP in a collective effort to drive forward the country’s plastic action agenda,” said Kristin Hughes, Director of the Global Plastic Action Partnership and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.
“Pakistan has the potential to drastically reduce, if not eradicate its plastic pollution problem, one that is based on a mutual desire to adopt more sustainable and circular models that can benefit the economic, social, health and environmental priorities of the country. We are confident that through a strong emphasis on these priorities, such as by using metrics to set, measure and achieve ambitious targets, and fostering local innovation and expertise, this partnership will serve as a model for success.”
The Minister for Climate Change/Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Malik Amin Aslam Khan, said, “we look towards a future where Pakistan has reduced the leakage of plastic waste in the Indus River Basin by at least 50 per cent by 2030 through a “whole of society” approach. To enable this vision, we are committed to embracing the circular economy approach in Pakistan in a holistic and sustainable way that is attentive to the needs of all who are involved in this the plastics chain. This is in complete synergy with our mandate to mainstream environment and climate change in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer Pakistan towards enabling climate resilient development.”
“We are aware that the road to tackling plastic pollution is a long and challenging one, and we are hopeful that the National Plastic Action Partnership will become a point of convergence for action and innovation in the sector, and enable real, lasting impact,” he continued.
Pakistan has recently taken efforts to tackle the country’s plastic pollution issue. One such example is the Clean and Green Pakistan Index. This aims to establish a comprehensive framework for healthier, cleaner cities, single-use plastics bans, promoting awareness, visible partnerships with local and international organisations focusing on tackling waste, and recycling.
“The UK is delighted to support the launch of Pakistan’s partnership with the Global Plastic Action Partnership. It is inspiring to see Pakistan’s leadership and ambition on accelerating action towards a circular plastics economy and reducing the threat of plastic pollution in Pakistan,” said Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith, Minister for Pacific and the Environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK.
“I look forward to working with Pakistan and further partners across the GPAP network to take collective, tangible steps towards achieving a zero-waste future.”
After a challenging few years dominated by the COVID pandemic, exacerbated by an explosion in packaged goods, as well as increased of use of single-use plastics through masks, gloves and other PPE, GPAP and its partners have met critical milestones, including most recently launching the roadmap for ‘radical’ reduction of plastic pollution with the government of Ghana.