The issue of waste management is of critical concern in Pakistan. Accumulation of noxious gases in atmosphere, accretion of contaminants in water, and deposition of toxins on land, has made survival of all life forms arduous. Our surroundings are life threatening and we, ourselves, have given rise to this predicament. What could be worse than our deep-seated apathy towards the issue? We, as a society, lack interest in solving emerging environmental problems.

Our country has no recycling facility operational. None of us is even aware whether there exists any recycling plant or not, because we have not seen the proof of its existence so far. We lack community-led recycling programmes. We have not learnt from other countries which have gone long ahead in managing waste. Above all, at individual level we have failed and we are not ready to confess it. Who is to be blamed, when majority of us pay no head towards the issue? It is so easy to ‘criticise’ the companies whose performances have not been up to the mark, but how many of us are ready to contribute towards the cause? Unfortunately, we do not even have a sense to manage our domestic waste yet how courageously we fight at forefronts when it comes to supporting a political party we are affiliated with!

What is the way forward then? Till how long we would rely on foreign companies to invade and get us out from this misery? The longer we wait the complex the situation would become. We need a shift in our behaviors. Suppose, we start managing waste at house-hold level, what strategies we will have to opt? Start from the food waste, instead of keeping left-over meal in our refrigerators; why not donate it to those who can’t afford? There are such people in every community, who cannot afford to have a meal three times a day. Even if we have not identified them yet, why don’t we share the meal with the maid of our home? Now let’s move towards plastic debris which forms major portion of the waste. At domestic level, plastic waste mainly comprises: bags, bottles, Styrofoam boxes, and straws. We can reduce plastic footprint by keeping cotton bag with us, in our cars or in the bag we take with us for grocery. This can create a big difference! In order to reduce usage of plastic bottles, either keep a personal refill bottle or a mug. This will surely help in educational institutions too. Don’t take plastic straws from the shopkeeper, unless there is a dire need of it. What we often do is we immediately take straws out of the box placed on the counter without thinking if there is really a need of it?  

These practices are not peculiar, we all are aware of them; we just need to implement all these measures in everyday life. Prevention is better than cure, so why not lessen the chances? If you see garbage next time, or pass through a stingy place just ask a simple question to yourself, ‘Am I not responsible for it?’ The day we would hold our very own selves accountable shall be the dawn of change we all talk about!