On Earth Day: PM calls  for a plastic-free society

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PM

He appealed the people for a pledge to reduce the use of single-use plastics, embrace recycling and eco-friendly alternatives, and advocate for stronger environmental policies at every level of society

          ISLAMABAD, Apr 22 (dna):As the international community observes the annual Earth Day on Monday, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif urged the countrymen to reaffirm their commitment to using plastic responsibly to reduce plastic waste and embrace recycling and eco-friendly alternatives.

Observed annually on April 22, this year’s Earth Day is being observed under the theme of “Planet vs. Plastics.”

“As we unite to observe this day under the theme, “Planet vs. Plastics” that calls for a 60% reduction in plastic use by 2040, let us reaffirm our commitment to use plastic responsibly to reduce plastic waste that is not only polluting our oceans, lakes, and rivers but are also making inroads into our food systems, posing a direct and serious threat to human health,” the prime minister, in a message to the nation.

He appealed the people for a pledge to reduce the use of single-use plastics, embrace recycling and eco-friendly alternatives, and advocate for stronger environmental policies at every level of society.

Calling Earth Day a reminder of shared responsibility towards protecting our planet – for now and for future generations, he said though Pakistan was among one of the most climate-vulnerable countries, there was little awareness about the risks of climate change threatening the development, the well-being, and economic security of the citizens.

“Year after year, we are witnessing its devastating impacts –  from changing seasonal weather patterns, rising temperatures, variability of monsoons and melting of glaciers in the north, further compounded with recurrent extreme weather events and natural disasters – to the slower onset events of sea level rise, warming seas and loss of ecosystems.”

The prime minister said that the effects of climate change had exacerbated over the years, which puts the country at an even greater economic and physical risk. Hence, we understand the urgency of taking bold and decisive steps to confront these challenges and build resilience in the face of adversity, he added.

He said the government was leading the charge and remained committed to making its contribution as it had initiated an exhaustive consultative process with the line ministries, provincial environment departments, ICT administration, industries and other relevant stakeholders for developing Single-Use Plastics (Prohibition) Regulations, 2023 as well as restriction on use of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles in federal ministries/divisions.

“These initiatives underscore our commitment towards promoting a sustainable circular economy for plastics by reducing waste, and consumption, and encouraging reuse, recycling, and material recovery. To achieve a plastic-free society and effectively combat the escalating issue of plastic pollution in Pakistan, it is imperative to address the underlying causes and promote a holistic approach for managing plastic waste,” the prime minister remarked.

Highlighting the role of provincial governments and local authorities as of prime importance, he urged the citizens to play their role in safeguarding the planet for the prosperity of all.

Recounting nature’s bounties for Pakistan in the form of awe-inspiring mountains, dense forests and pristine lakes and coasts, he emphasised the society’s responsibility to protect them.

“From preserving nature to mitigating the effects of climate change on people and their livelihoods, Pakistan will continue its strife towards building a sustainable, cleaner and greener future,” he resolved.