ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister’s Advisor on Climate Change Ameen Aslam Malik has said that the poor state of sanitation in the country is not only a crisis but it should be considered as a business opportunity by private sector.  He was speaking at the concluding session of a two-day consultation on sanitation market shaping to review the recommendations of the recently conducted sanitation market assessment study in South Asia.  The event was organised by the Ministry of Climate Change, under the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative.

He said we have been looking at sanitation issue from a lens of crisis but the correct lens is of opportunity. He stressed that waste management should be treated as a business model instead of a crisis.

He informed that after successfully implementing massive tree plantation across the country and ban on plastic bags at Islamabad, the incumbent government has also finalised the electric vehicles policy, which will be approved by the federal cabinet in coming days.

He maintained that the said policy would unleash a new era of transportation industry in the country.   

Organised in collaboration with UNICEF, Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Pakistan Ceramic Manufacturers Association, the consultation has brought together representatives of the private sector and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to review the findings of a sanitation market assessment conducted by UNICEF in three South Asian countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.  In-depth discussions were held between WASH experts and manufacturers of sanitation materials on business opportunities in the sanitation market and the way forward to meet enormous demand as well as financial options.

Addressing the inaugural session of the consultation, the Minister of State for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul Wazir said, “Engagement with private sector is a vital factor for the success of Clean Green Pakistan Movement. It is pertinent to note that while more than 28 million households are estimated not having access of safely managed sanitation services, more than 20 million people in Pakistan defecate in the open.”

“Clean Green Pakistan movement is serving as a pre-cursor to the upcoming demand for sanitation. We have high hopes from private sector partners, as change does not come without partnerships, devotion and emotions.” She said, adding: “I encourage you to support us in meeting the sanitation demands and provide low-cost solutions - through which every Pakistani can become a part of the Clean Green Pakistan Movement.”

Highlighting the hygiene aspect of sanitation, UNCIEF Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Aida Girma said, “A simple latrine and a basic hand washing facility with soap can save lives of 110 children, who die in Pakistan every day because of preventable diseases like diarrhoea.”

She explained that a simple latrine could also prevent over 40 percent of stunted brain growth in newborn children.

This would mean adding another 40 percent healthier and talented workforce to the future of the country.

She further said that basic sanitation is a UN recognised human right, a right which is not being actualised for 79 million Pakistanis so far.