Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Tuesday said the federal cabinet has approved the National Hazardous Waste Management Policy to curb the growing threats of toxic waste posed to human life and ecology.
Addressing the joint media conference, flanked by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira and Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs, she told the journalists that the country was importing 80,000 tonnes of hazardous waste from abroad which was far more than the solid waste produced annually within the country.
Sherry said a landmark policy was approved by the Cabinet moved by the Ministry of Climate Change . The policy would help control the Hazardous Waste Management, its mobility, and transboundary movement of toxic material which included plastics, hospital waste, oil, batteries, and electronic waste, she added.
She underlined that there was no second thought that hazardous waste was injurious to health due its carcinogenic nature and serious health complications. “It pollutes our ground water reserves and attains the chemical status of poisonous acid after seepage into the aquifer”, Sherry said.
Earlier, around 626 containers were shipped to Pakistan illegally by various countries to dump their toxic waste which hit the news bulletins as a matter of serious concern, she mentioned.
She said some 80,000 tonnes toxic waste a year was being imported by the private parties whereas the country’s solid waste generation was 60,000 tonnes per year.
The Minister while expressing her serious concern over poor management said that the imported waste was not managed properly that had entered in our blood, lungs and food through contamination.
“Basil Convention, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions also deal with it and the Policy had to be established as per these convention as Pakistan is signatory to these protocols. We will develop a national framework with the provinces and a national action plan to control licensing of hazardous waste import and management.”
She added the policy implementation would also benefit the country’s GSP plus compliance. “The MoCC hopes to prepare national action plan within three months,” she said.