Global capitalism, fuelled by greed for profit maximisation, is posing challenges to the Earth in unimaginable ways. The moot held at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) Jamshoro has highlighted one alarming fact about environmental degradation; there will be more plastic than fish in oceans by 2050. According to the study conducted by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “at least 8m tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean –which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.”

And if the surface pollution is not enough, plastic products floating in the oceans and seas pose a severe threat to marine life as well. Around 700 marine species may soon go into extinction due to ingestion, entanglement and pollution. This will be a collapse of marine eco-system, and the consequences for the planet will be disastrous.

Sadly, there is no adequate mechanism for recycling plastics. At present, unfortunately, only 5% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling. The outlook presented to us at the moot appears to be bleak; all is not lost, however. We still have time to save our rivers, seas, and oceans by taking some corrective measures.

Pakistan’s waters are not immune to plastic pollution either. Plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants that harm the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution. Due to the excessive use of plastic that the air we inhale and the water we drink today are highly unhygienic. Like in other parts of the world, the water resources of Pakistan and their inhabitants are facing existential challenges as dumping plastics in water sources goes unregulated.

The ruling party, i.e., Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is already determined to fight the environmental battle. However, the government needs to remember that it will fight this battle not only on land and in the air but also in waters. Therefore, the government need to rethink their strategy and devise concrete steps against this ecological threat.