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Senate panel calls Pakistan a hazardous dumping ground 

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Islamabad: A parliamentary committee was informed on Thursday that Pakistan is importing enormous amounts of hazardous garbage from numerous nations, including the United Kingdom, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the United Kingdom dumped approximately 40,000 tons of rubbish in Pakistan, which could not segregate regular and hazardous waste, causing significant environmental and health problems.

Furthermore, 25,000 tons arrived from Iran and approximately 20,000 tons from the UAE, according to Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of Climate Change.

The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change convened for a briefing on the National Hazardous Waste Management Policy 2022 and other agenda issues, including Pakistan’s commitment to cut carbon emissions with the international community.

Last year, 85,000 tons were imported from the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran.

The federal cabinet unanimously agreed on the policy on Tuesday, and it will be passed on to provinces and enforced at the federal level for international compliance.

The committee was informed that most of the debris, including electronic waste, was utilized by the recycling sector in Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The recycling business recovered metals such as gold, copper, and aluminum from imported rubbish.

The United States, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Canada, Italy, and other countries dumped rubbish into Pakistan.

The strategy intends to prevent lethal waste from entering Pakistan and from being manufactured within the country, Mr. Hussain explained to the lawmakers.

In 2019, 624 containers containing various types of rubbish were dumped along Pakistan’s coastline. The private entity who imported the garbage was unable to be identified.

The committee was informed that before providing a no-objection certificate, all aspects of solid waste brought into Pakistan were assessed (NOC). However, before issuing NOCs, the Ministry of Climate Change relied on provincial environmental protection authorities.

Members voiced their outrage and disbelief that dangerous garbage was permitted into Pakistan. They also learned that 40 NOCs were provided to private parties last year to import rubbish into the country.

Sherry Rehman, Minister for Climate Change, proposed halting NOCs until the country’s garbage dumping and recycling infrastructure were in place.

She stated that the strategy, which would require an eco-friendly management system for lethal waste, would be implemented by a national committee. She noted that the provinces had been consulted in this matter.

Senator Humayun Mohmand urged that the government pursue individuals responsible for permitting lethal garbage into the country.

“We are unable to handle our rubbish, let alone waste poured into Pakistan by the rest of the globe,” Senator Farooq Naik said.

Pakistan creates 30 million tons of municipal solid garbage each year, with 10 to 14% of that being hazardous waste such as e-waste, hospital waste, and pesticides.

Senator Seemi Ezdi, head of the committee, praised the policy as a promising approach to dangerous waste.