According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Environment, Pakistan produces roughly 49.6 million tonnes of solid waste annually and 4.36 billion cubic metres (BCM) of home and industrial wastewater. Around 60-70 percent of solid waste and just 1 percent of total wastewater are processed before disposal.

Sustainable waste management is mainly unknown, putting the environment and human health at risk. Waste management infrastructure is lacking in Pakistan, which has resulted in significant environmental issues. Most municipal garbage is either burned, dumped, or buried on unoccupied land, damaging the general public’s health and safety.

Many factors contribute to the problem, including a lack of financial resources, insufficient waste management technologies, and a lack of planning and public awareness. The lack of a competent system for managing solid and sewage waste is caused by the following:

  • The solid waste collection system is missing.

  • Open spots on the streets are regularly used to dump solid garbage.

  • Solid waste is not separated correctly at the source.

  • Since sanitary landfills are nonexistent, burning rubbish in the open is standard practice.

To address these challenges, a Lao delegation of four GGGI Lao PDR professionals visited Pakistan for the South-South Knowledge Exchange (SSKE) Program between Lao PDR and Pakistan, aiming to improve solid waste management in Lao PDR by learning from Pakistan’s best practices.

In the meeting held at MPCHS Islamabad, an NGO specializing in sanitation and waste management in Pakistan, Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan Memorial Trust (AHKMT), GGGI developed a plan that focused on managing and operating the integrated resource recovery centre (IRRC) in Vientiane because the new IRRC established in the capital requires technical knowledge of the operators and managers. Thus, capacity building is necessary for effective operation. Participants also learned about garbage collection, a household biogas plant and Pakistan’s informal recycling industry at SSKE programme sessions.

This program was planned and carried out by GGGI as part of the KOICA-funded project “Wastewater and Solid Waste Treatment Capacity Building Project for City Environment Improvement in Vientiane Capital and Pakse City” in MPCHS Islamabad.

The Way Forward

For the success of this GO Green Initiative, people in Pakistan need to get better at reusing their waste. The public must be made aware of the health and environmental consequences of discarded and exposed garbage. Environmental literacy, a shift in mindset, and concrete action are all critical for the general population.

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