All over the world, the process of recycling has been adopted as a means of minimizing environmental degradation. However, the is not the case in Pakistan. Heaps of garbage produced here daily is an alarming factor and poses a serious threat to its people.
Unlike other developing nations, the concept of recycling is in its infancy stage in Pakistan. Due to lack of proper waste-collection sites and inadequate trash bins, most of the waste finds its way into dumping sites, open grounds, rain water drains and agricultural fields, leading to the excessive burning of waste everywhere, posing serious risk to public health.
In 2002, a research study by the Karachi-based Urban Resource Centre estimated Karachi to be generating 6,600 tons of waste per day. Since then, the trash has kept piling on, further straining the disposal system. Now, the city’s polluting heaps have doubled to 12,000 tons per day and is expected to reach 16,000 tons by 2020. Karachi produces 24 percent of Pakistan’s total waste per year and is able to recycle only five percent of it, which is nothing compared to the waste being generated by the city.
Despite the racket made by environmentalists, dumping and burning remain the most common methods of solid waste disposal in our city and country. In the future, 109,244 tons of solid waste per day could make its way to the city streets and yet the government has initiated no full-fledge project except the inauguration of a recycling centre in Islamabad last year. There are certain organizations however that have initiated recycling on their own. One such venture that promotes the re-purposing of used paper is “Kaghaz Kay Karnamay”. Kaghaz Kay Karnamay was set up as an innovative facility to help with the development of greener Pakistan and its need for self-reliance in terms of paper and paper industry. It promotes the recycling of pre owned paper and organic waste to produce new paper and a diverse range of paper products.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is the mantra we often hear every time there’s a discussion about recycling. Paper is one material that can be easily recycled. The recycling of paper, glass, metal and plastic items is a way of ensuring that we minimize the actual waste we send to the landfill. This in turn allows us to build less landfills. Recycling paper conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and keeps landfill space free for other types of trash that can’t be recycled. Recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy.
Many of us throw paper in our recycling bins without too much thought, but believe it or not, people have been paper making for 2000 years. Paper recycling might seem like the sort of thing best left to paper mills, but it turns out you can recycle your own paper at home without too much trouble. The process of recycling old paper into new paper is pretty straightforward. The Paper recycling activity can start at school, college, home, office, local community centers.
The recycling of paper requires at least 50% less energy and up to 75% less water than making paper out of wood. It also produces up to 90% less wastewater and reduces air pollution by 70%. Here’s an illustration giving a general sense of the process.
Kaghaz Kay Karnamay’s papermaking initiative is designed in response to build a healthier and greener environment by preventing wastage of paper. Recycling, if initiated as a micro enterprise in Pakistan will not only boost the economy, but will also generate jobs, conserve our natural resources, save landfill space and energy, and reduce pollution all at the same time.
AUTHOR: Wajiha Tariq