A UK government-backed campaign to build recycling bases in Pakistan could raise millions of pounds to help reduce ocean and river plastic pollution.
The British NGO Tearfund is working in the country to improve the collection and disposal of waste and the Department for International Development has agreed to match each donation given to the NGO, up to £2m.
Nearly a third of people in Pakistan live below the poverty line and rubbish is one of their biggest challenges. Uncollected waste builds up in rivers and causes flooding, which can lead to diarrhoea and infectious diseases.
An alternative method of waste disposal is to burn it in the streets, which poses a health threat and contributes to climate change.
With the help of the UK government’s aid match scheme, the charity is extending its work in Pakistan’s slums and creating recycling hubs.
Ashraf Mall, Tearfund’s representative for Pakistan, said: “Pakistan produces more than 20m tonnes of rubbish each year and in cities like Karachi, two-fifths remains uncollected. The generous funding from the UK government will allow us to transform the daily lives of people living in Karachi and Hyderabad.”
The UK’s international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said: “Tearfund’s appeal will play a vital role in helping communities across Pakistan recycle plastic waste, stopping it from ending up in the country’s water supply.
“This work will not only improve the health of generations of people, it will also create jobs and prosperity while reducing harmful plastic waste and pollution.”
Inefficient management of rubbish in the developing world is a growing problem, with 2 billion people worldwide lacking access to regular waste collection.