Plastic waste a threat to marine life

Residents, authorities alike have shown disregard for prevalent environmental protection laws

Wisal Yousafzai December 20, 2022


Apart from a hazardous air problem, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s capital suffers from a plastic waste problem as well, which is further exacerbated due to a lack of concern by residents and environmental protection authorities alike.

It can take up to 300 years for a plastic bottle and 500 years for a plastic bag to decompose, as per a World Wildlife Fund Pakistan (WWF) report. This is problematic in K-P’s context as according to the Water Sanitation Service Company Peshawar (WSSP), out of the around 1,500 tons of waste collected every day from the city, 70% is plastic waste whereas the remainder 30% is organic waste - which makes it 1,050 tons of plastic waste per day.

“Despite the provincial government recently passing a bill called K-P Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill 2022, which imposes a ban on plastic products, residents of the city have not decreased their reliance on plastic,” said Hassan Khan, the Spokesperson for WSSP. He further informed that the WSSP had tried to create awareness amongst people regarding the harmful effects that plastic has on the environment but to no avail.

“We are targeting students now and with the support of other stakeholders we wish to educate people about the proper disposal of plastic waste,” informed Hassan, adding that presently people did not care much that plastic chokes our drainage system and is a death sentence for marine life. Professor Dr Bushra Khan, of the Environmental Science Department at the University of Peshawar, concurring with Hassan, said that it was true that people did not realise that plastic affects our marine life and agricultural lands as well. “It is no secret that our plastic waste ends up in rivers, which pollutes the water and puts marine life at risk. In K-P alone there has been a decline in the production of 46% of species of fish,” said Dr Bushra, adding that 12 rivers connected K-P and marine life in all was under threat.

“Moreover, our drinking water is also being polluted by the plastic waste; consumption of which can lead to diseases like cancer.” Director of the provincial Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Anwer Khan, when asked about the lack of implementation of laws passed to ensure a clean environment, replied that the implementation phase would begin soon.

“The bill passed by the K-P assembly regarding the ban on plastic states that implementation will start after 6 months. Since the bill was passed in August of this year, we will start implementing it in January or February of the upcoming year. In this regard, we have already spoken with businessmen related to the plastic industry,” the provincial EPA Director told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2022.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ