Hazardous plastic scraps imports continue unabated in Pakistan



The plastic industry is one of the leading business sectors of Pakistan, posting a growth rate of more than 15 per cent a year on an average. There are, however, rampant violations of laws and regulations taking place within the industry, especially when it comes to processing, manufacturing and recycling hazardous plastic materials.

Negligence in this regard puts both environment and the lives of citizens at stake. Local plastic manufacturers use imported plastic scraps and waste to produce finished plastic goods and articles. The plastic scraps used for manufacturing are in no way tested for contaminants before being cleared for manufacturing. It is a clear and blatant violation of the import policy order put in place by the government.

Furthermore, it violates the Basel Convention that draws out the scope of end-of-life plastic products which contain contaminants and constituents that fall under hazard class 6 and 9 of the convention and are to be sent back to the country from where the plastic waste was imported from.

The most worrying fact is that plastic scraps imports jumped by a staggering 200 per cent year-on-year to 46,992 tonnes in 2017. These imports normally come from countries like Britain, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

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