Volunteers trekked to K-2’s Concordia Base Camp to collect 2,750kgs of waste over a stretch of 100km
A team of environmentally-conscious volunteers trekked to K-2’s Concordia Base Camp recently to collect 2,750kgs of waste over a stretch of 100km. These are people who understand that it is a privilege humans have to call this planet our home. They also understand that improper waste management can have the most severe impact on human health, not to mention the detriment caused to animal and marine life, and our heritage sites. The role of government regulation when it comes to waste management becomes particularly important in a country where quality control on hazmat production is rare and where people have little knowledge about the various properties of chemicals and materials used to produce daily-use products such as plastic, which contains a chemical known to cause hormonal disruption in humans.
While the acts of volunteers when it comes to waste disposal, like in this particular case, are highly welcome, what we really need is for the government to place a more stringent regulatory system. If we are to continue developing new infrastructures and residential areas, the basics of garbage collection must be systematised. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in its “Guidelines for Solid Waste Management” document, has stated that waste collection services across Pakistan only collect 50 per cent of the waste generated, whereas the recommendation for cities is to maintain 75 per cent waste collection. The EPA, the Ministry of Climate Change, and the public need to work towards living up to our country’s title as the land of the pure, which possesses remarkable history, wildlife, world heritage sites and natural landmarks. If waste management practices aren’t improved, these sites will become landfills. Besides taking steps to maintain the cleanliness of our majestic mountains, our urban areas also need special attention. According to a World Bank report, the rate of urban waste production is growing faster than the rate of urbanisation — so we must act quickly.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.
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