The urban world is facing an immense environmental crisis of waste management, with plastic waste on top because of its multifaceted implications for the environment, water, life, oceans etc. The production of plastics (meaning pliable and easily shaped) started at the beginning of the 20th century with the discovery of polymers. These polymers were initially produced from natural sources like cellulose but now their main sources are fossil fuels rich in carbon compounds. . Now every second item around us is made of plastic, from personal use items like razors, cell phones to automobile parts, PET food containers, consumer electronics so on and so forth. Among other uses of plastic, PET bottles and shopping bags are the most extensively used items and a major source of single-use plastic pollution. According to our study 25% of the total solid wastes will recyclable waste out of which 50% will be plastic waste.
According to the United Nations Environment Program,
EXISTING SITUATION OF PLASTIC WASTE IN PAKISTAN
These single-use non-biodegradable bags mostly find their way to open garbage dumps, landfill sites or municipal sewers, thus making sewage disposal systems less efficient by choking, thus adding to the costs of utility operations. Current urban waste management practices are partners to this crisis, since they only focus on picking waste from communal bins and disposing of it in urban fringes without segregation, material recovery or recycling, and also by not making communities act responsibly. They are spending as much as Rs. 3000-6000 per ton without any business model to recover costs.
To tackle this looming issue, we need to think globally and act locally. Considering a two-pronged strategy, we need to follow a holistic way forward to deal with this until science finds a sustainable way to replace conventional plastics. These solutions may include
Plastic companies and their products
Table 01: Companies dealing with Plastic waste in Pakistan
|Sr. No||Company name||Material accept||Products|
|1||Al-Quraish Group of Industries||PET||Flakes|
|2||Combine Holding Pvt. Ltd.||Waste Plastic||Granule, Pallets|
|3||Evergreen Plastic Industries (Pvt) Ltd||PP, PS, HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, HIPS||Granule, Pallets, Flakes|
|4||International Industrial Services||HDPE, LDPE, HIPS, ABS, PP||Granule, Pallets, Flakes|
|5||Maqson Synthetics||PET, LDPE, PP||Granule, Pallets, Flakes|
|7||Modern Plastic Industries||PET, PP, PA, PS, PVC, LDPE, LLDPE||Granule, Pallets|
Plastic waste and its recycling Survey in Rawalpindi and Islamabad
Plastic Waste analysis is being carried out in different areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to know about the existing situation and what further actions are required to handle this problem.
For this purpose a questioner based survey were conduct for different peoples involve in producing, collection and recycling of plastic. Questioners were made for scavenger, junkman, processing unit and environmental expert.
Following Methodology is adopted for this analysis.
Figure 3: Flowchart Showing Methodology
Following major steps were taken for proper plastic waste analysis.
Questionnaires were developed and used as tool of surveying. These were made for different groups of people dealing with plastic waste. Groups include scavengers/waste collector, Plastic processing unit junkman (Kabari) and environmental experts. These checklists are attached in Annex.
Surveyors were asked to select their desired area for data collection within the vicinity of Rawalpindi.
For collection of data all surveyors were directed to different junkman, scavengers, and plastic processing plants.
After the collection of data it is being analyzed to carry out Gap Analysis.
Gap analysis can be termed as the loopholes between the current practices and what further action are required to make the situation better. In this report Gap analysis to handle plastic waste is carried out which is explained below.
From this study it is concluded that
Form the above analysis it is concluded that
Harmful Impacts of Processing
During processing hazardous pollutants enter into environment. These pollutants not only have severe implications on environment, but they effect people living nearby. Hence, there is a need to improve existing process by applying engineering controls.
Figure 4: Current Practices and future demands
HEALTH HAZARDS FROM PLASTICS: HEALTH RISKS
|Figure 2: Health effects of Plastic|
Several studies have found causal links between plastic and problems across most of the human body’s systems: for instance cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, and gastrointestinal systems. Therefore, the health impacts are overwhelmingly numerous. Cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and various immune diseases are just a few examples of severe issues potentially caused by plastic and its toxic components.
Followings are the types of plastics which can be recycled:
Details of how this study is carried out and methodology adopted are discussed below.
WHAT FURTHER ACTIONS ARE REQUIRED
Plastic bags are used worldwide which have immense effect on environment, these plastic bags cannot be stopped however can be replaced with less hazardous materials. For this purpose 4 R principle which is reduce, reuse, recycle and recover can be implemented here in Pakistan which will not only reduce the environmental impact but will also create more jobs.
The plastic bags are not only cost effective, but are also a source of growth of economy of the country.
For this purpose following practices needs to be implemented: