Karachi, 3 June: “Unsustainable use and production of plastics are posing a serious threat to the environment, wildlife, ecosystems, and human health. Pakistan faces worrying trends of an increase in the rate of plastic production and its disposal which need to be immediately addressed”. This was stated by speakers during a media training workshop organized by Green Media Initiatives (GMI) in collaboration with Engro Foundation and WWF-Pakistan at a local hotel in Karachi. The workshop focusing on the theme of #BeatPlasticPollution was held in connection with World Environment Day 2023. The event aimed at building the capacity of media participants how to develop evidence-based environmental stories which depict the adverse impacts of plastics. The workshop emphasized the role of media in highlighting the challenges posed by plastics in the country. Speakers underscored the need for the implementation of laws and regulations about the production and use of plastics across cities and rural areas in Pakistan.
Speaking during the workshop, Shabina Faraz, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Green Media Initiatives (GMI) and environmental journalist, said that women are at a greater risk of experiencing the adverse impacts of plastic pollution in Pakistan. She also said that marine pollution, for example, poses an enormous health threat to women living and working near the coastal belt of Sindh and Balochistan. She emphasized the need to develop the capacity of the journalists to develop field stories that highlight the health impacts and help sensitize the policymakers and relevant government agencies to take pragmatic steps to address these challenges. “It is high time to develop actionable plans and initiate massive campaigns to address the issue of plastic pollution”, she added.
Favad Soomro, Head of Engro Foundation, said, “According to the UN, more than 3.3 million tons of plastic waste ends up in landfills or unmanaged dumps each year in Pakistan, which damages the environment and people’s health. At Engro, we are striving to solve some of Pakistan’s most pressing issues. Therefore, we have launched the Engro Circular Plastics Program, which is partnering with academia, social entrepreneurs, and grassroots organizations to promote a circular economy of plastics in the country”.
Jawad Umer Khan, Manager Marine Programme, WWF-Pakistan said that under this year’s theme for Beat Plastic Pollution, we need to reimagine, restore and recreate nature. We need to make a commitment towards reducing plastic consumption, opt for recycling and reuse of plastic, and move towards more biodegradable options. “Let’s get together to plant more trees, make our cities green, change our diets and clean up our oceans, rivers, and coasts to develop and promote a plastic-free environment”, he added.
Professor, Dr. Muhammad Khurram from the National Centre of AI and Smart City Lab, NED University said that government should implement rules and regulations, and create policies to bring awareness among common people and the stakeholders including relevant government agencies, civil society organizations, media, industry, and academia must join hands in efforts to control and reduce plastic pollution from our country.
While, Amir Latif, a senior journalist from Anadolu Agency (AA) said that the induction of more journalists, particularly females into environmental journalism will significantly increase the volume of coverage of environment-related issues in the mainstream and unconventional media.
One of the major concerns of plastic waste is how it is putting both humans and wildlife in grave danger since in most cases marine and other animals ingest plastic. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists somewhere in the world and we need to play our role individually in protecting the planet from becoming one big plastic waste dump. The organizers appealed to other organizations and the public to join the efforts to keep the environment safe and clean.