Int’l conventions need to gauge, guide hazardous waste recycling capacities of countries: Sherry

In short hand, National Action Plans (NAPs) needed to be aligned better with these three conventions that could be done only if the world did not address the problem in sectoral silos, she underlined.

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ISLAMABAD, Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Wednesday said the international conventions on hazardous management needed to gauge and guide the capacities of the countries authorised to recycle perilous materials.

The Minister was addressing during her participation in bilateral meetings on Climate & Forests and High level segments of the conference of the parties (COP) to Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions at Stockholm +50 international meeting being held in Sweden from June 1-3.

Sherry said the waste management was one of the challenges that should not need a moral imperative behind it as people simply cleaning up their backyard in the national and local sense did not need much motivation.

“It impacts human health, the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe which is the triple crisis we face,” she said.

In short hand, National Action Plans (NAPs) needed to be aligned better with these three conventions that could be done only if the world did not address the problem in sectoral silos, she underlined.

Sherry added that the world needed to come out of global, national, provincial and municipal and institutional silos, adding, “We address many of our problems and existential ones in boxes even in one country there is federation addressing major crisis including pollution, waste management and hazardous waste as part of a linear boasting effort.”

The Minister also raised a pertinent question to the forum that she said might be answered by climate lawyers saying, “When you are taking prior permission to transport hazardous material to a country that is looking or able to recycle. Is that ensured at the ground level that either the country has the capacity to manage the complete recycling process?”

She told the forum that the South Asia economies and particularly Pakistan were real masters at recycling as they did not want to waste anything due to their limited resources. “Poor people always have a second, third and fourth life of every product. They want to reinvent not because they can rather they cannot afford to buy new or replace old things. That’s why our lives are less carbon intensive”, she noted.

The Minister while introspecting the process of transferring of hazardous waste to less developed economies queried that either the countries’ capacities were evaluated for recycling or they were just left festering the landfill sites as many of it were doing which was a risk to human civilization and the water.

She also questioned the utilisation of these conventions to develop NAPs as they were useful for the governments that are distracted due to multiple other crises for cogent strategies.

She mentioned that Pakistan has emerged as the hottest places on earth with its geographic location achieving the hottest urban dwelling temperatures for the past three years. “This year it crossed 51 degree Celsius which is quite uninhabitable. We are also going to face water scarcity by 2025. We have the largest or almost glaciated mountains outside the polar region that are melting faster due to an unprecedented heatwave.”

She said the country was stunned at recent events of flashfloods, drought that happened in recurring manner as half of the country was under drought, desertification, arid, and food security hugely impacted along with the produce of mangoes it exported.

She said the world particularly developing nations were looking at these conventions to build NAPs which then at least guide them and their governments to build synergies among the three crises of pollution, biodiversity, and climate crisis.

She urged the forum to realize that Pakistan was a developing country that had no huge resources and technology.

“What goes on is passing on of responsibility to other communities especially in the riverine cultures. The pollution in the rivers will go down the stream where the annual global dumping of plastics and waste is finding its way not to recycling rather the rivers.”

Only 30 percent of the world’s industrial waste was recycled and the rest was going into the oceans and landfills, she said.

“90 percent of our plastic bags are ending up in our oceans damaging marine life and ultimately human health. They are not only damaging our coastal lines and coral reefs rather they are poisoning the marine life with highly injurious chemicals like mercury”, she mentioned.

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