Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s “Clean and Green Pakistan” drive will be a significant step in raising awareness around the subject of clean and green environment that the country is lacking. It is encouraging to see that the ruling party is trying to deliver on as many promises that they made in their electoral manifesto as possible. Before Imran, all other leaders made empty pledges to initiate cleanliness drives, but so far no visible improvement in the environment could be seen.
Pakistan stands at 169 out of 180 countries in Environmental Performance Index (EPI) rankings. The rankings that were released on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in January 2018 states that a substantial population of Pakistan suffer from poor air quality and have no access to clean drinking water or environment. Fortunately, the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is determined to fight the environmental battle.
The campaign that will start from 13th October is praiseworthy for the reasons that it is a collective effort. Furthermore, the waste will be utilised to produce energy that the country badly needs. All over the world, many states are using their waste products to create energy in the form of electricity, heat, and gasses. Harnessing power from waste can help Pakistan reduce its dependency on energy imports. Studies also suggest that waste to energy techniques contributes towards reducing carbon emission and meeting renewable energy targets.
Mr Khan is right in asserting that poor sanitation and unhygienic living conditions are the reasons for the high mortality rate among nation’s children. The high mortality rate can be reduced significantly with the help of awareness drives that the government is determined to run not only in residential areas but also in schools. Also, the drive is a multi-pronged campaign. It also covers tourism. One of the reasons, according to the PM for less number of tourists, is lack of basic facilities.
Big cities of Pakistan like Karachi and Lahore need more such initiatives on a regular basis. The campaign is no doubt necessary for cultural change. However, the movement needs concrete steps too – like investing more in municipal committees that are responsible for the maintenance of any city. Most of the municipal committees face a shortage of funds to carry out their functions. These committees do not have funds to own even necessary equipment like more garbage trucks, dumping containers. For a successful movement, Khan’s team need to cover all aspects and issues that they will face in the process.