Monday, April 2, 2012

‘Pakistan Becoming a Dumping Ground for Hazardous Plastic Waste”

It was 1998; Greenpeace activists from all over the Netherlands & Germany closed down PVC scrap exporting company in Lelstad, in the Netherlands. Greenpeace activists blocked the entrance of the company and urged Dutch government to ‘stop export of PVC waste’. Greenpeace believed that Dutch Government was party to poisoning of workers and the environment and this behavior was shameful and tends to undermine the Dutch government's commitment in international negotiations to stop the export of hazardous waste to developing countries.

It is sad to see developed countries keeping their house clean, whereas treating third world countries including Pakistan as their waste yard.

I am glad to see Pakistani media playing an effective role of a whistle blower against the import of hazardous plastic waste in the country, it is high time for government to take strong action before it is too late.

Credit mainly goes to Daily Dawn for writing following editorial on Hazardous waste on 31st March 2012.

“ONE of the negative fallouts of globalisation has been the fact that developed countries have solved the problem of hazardous waste by shipping it to less-developed nations. Pakistan has not escaped this phenomenon. As published by this paper, the customs authorities have allowed the import of hazardous medical waste under the cover of ‘plastic scrap’. This appears to be a violation not only of local regulations, but also of the Basel Convention, the international treaty — which Pakistan has signed — designed to prevent the transfer of hazardous material across borders. Before the treaty was drawn up in the late 1980s, it was relatively common for industrialised nations to rid themselves of their dangerous waste by dumping it in developing nations; the former had tended to have passed tougher environmental laws whereas the regulatory framework in the developing world was (and in many cases, remains) quite lax. The waste in question, originally from the UK, was stored in various Lahore warehouses to be sold as scrap and includes non-sterilised drips, urine bags and vials.

As it is, there is no systematic method of medical waste management in Pakistan. Not all medical facilities have incinerators and it is not uncommon to find possibly contaminated waste in open trash heaps. The last thing we need is hazardous waste from other countries adding to the problem, especially when this waste can be infected and cause diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS. Pakistan is also a dumping ground for computer or e-waste. The improper handling of e-waste can harm the health of workers sorting it while dumping computer hardware in landfills contaminates the soil and groundwater. In the public interest, parliament and the Supreme Court need to step in to stop such unscrupulous practices which can play havoc with people’s health as well as contribute to environmental degradation. All import of hazardous medical and e-waste must be blocked while the authorities also need to ensure that all public and private-sector hospitals dispose of their waste in a proper manner. The sensitisation of health workers is essential for this. Pakistan has enough health and environmental problems of its own. Importing other people’s waste is something we can definitely do without”.

To fulfill its responsibility our electronic media is also on forefront, Dunya Tv shared an interesting report.



Pakistan Designers Club said...

Environment is not in any priority of this PPP government. They are not looking after the affairs of the health of the people. We need a revolution here.

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Simran Kaur" said...

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Webdesk said...

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