Turning environmental problem into a business prospectus; an opportunity for young entrepreneurs

Pakistan generates about 48.5 million tons of solid waste a year, which has been increasing more than 2 percent annually. Like other developing countries, Pakistan lacks waste management infrastructure, creating serious environmental problems. Most municipal waste is either burned, dumped or buried on vacant lots, threatening the health and welfare of the general population. The Government of Pakistan (GOP) estimates that 87,000 tons of solid waste is generated per day, mostly from major metropolitan areas. All major cities face enormous challenges on how to manage urban waste. Bureaucratic hurdles, lack of urban planning, inadequate waste management equipment, and low public awareness contribute to the problem.

Bushra Rizva is a social activist; founder of Citizens for a Clean Karachi – CCK had attended NVP’s orientation session held on 7th September. She expressed her journey of initiating CCK campaign, when asked:

“After observing other parts of the world, I realized that the issue related to garbage that we see every day on TV, Radio and social media is very critical, especially the single-use plastic like polyethylene shopping bags. When anyone throws that garbage, it flows in the air, stuck in sewage, hence creates pollution. And you can watch the current situation of Karachi that has become worst to manage because it has gone on large scale. It is due to lack of responsibility shown by concerned authorities and similarly citizens do not take any action, never think about it.

 “My next milestone is to work with university students, especially, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers that can help in generating environmental friendly packaging so that we can get rid of plastic waste”

Due to this alarming condition, a recent ban has been imposed in Islamabad on single-use plastic. We have worked with Sindh environment protection agency on this subject. For the last one year, I have been working on this.

To create public awareness on mass level, I have launched my Facebook page named as Citizens for a Clean Karachi – CCK, it is on Instagram also. The aim of CCK campaign is to create awareness among the public. We have been going to different schools like Kiran foundation to talk on this subject. My next milestone is to work with university students, especially, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers that can help in generating environmental friendly packaging so that we can get rid of plastic waste. I would like to educate students about this, inspire them to join this league.

Example of single-use plastic

People often ask what we can do in our capacity. I suggest them to just abundant the use of single-use plastic and it will adversely effect to the manufacturers. The talks on plastic are all over the world, and many countries have overcome this by pledging to not to use plastic containers. World is realizing that it will be a humongous problem in near future because 50 years down the line, earth will be containing major portion of plastic garbage than fossils, minerals etc. Our next generation will get surprised by saying that what kind of people used to live before, they only gathered trash under the land. These days cancer is developing due to garbage. If now, we take our blood test then possibly it contains micro parts of plastic due to the intake of contaminated food.

Bushra, how we can solve this problem?

We have done research, and based on that we have come up with tentative alternatives:

  1. Inspire students to think over this problem. This environmental problem can be treated as an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to generate an idea to launch a business.
  2. Don’t expect anything from government. Take a stand by yourself.
  3. Although, we are surrounded by plastic products like mobile phone, eyewear etc. but we must switch to anything that can be replaced with plastic material.
  4. You can use baskets made of date trees that we can keep in cars, on motorbikes and also cloth bag that is quite handy to carry anywhere for shopping.
  5. Avoid plastic bags when you go for grocery shopping.
  6. Citizens just need to create a pressure over authorities and plastic mafia to abandon it.”


Read more about CCK:

CCK is focusing on reduction of plastic bags – in the long run it may well turn out to be an impetus for formulation of a sustainable recycling system