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Too little too late for the growth of blue economy

The fish-shaped dustbins have been laid at Karachi’s Sea View recently to ensure that the beachgoers do not litter the beach. It seems a gorgeous effort, however, the time would tell whether the responsible citizens of the metropolis throw trash in these dustbins. Other frequently visited places such as French Beach, Hawke’s Bay, Sandspit Beach, Paradise Beach, Manora Beach etc. in Karachi undergo the experience of trash and it has been happening since long without the attention of the concerned authorities. Going to any beach in Karachi with some exceptions means going to experience piles of trash comprising plastic beverage bottles, plastic grocery bags, cigarette butts which contain plastic filters, food wrappers etc. No concrete measures seem to have been taken even now for marine trash abandoned on beaches of Karachi though there are claims regarding Coastal Cleanup day. Certain organizations as a Corporate Social Responsibility act do send their employees once or twice every year to pick up trash from beaches and so do some academic institutions, however, this activity seems just a window dressing rather than a serious endeavor to ensure clean and pristine beaches not only in Sindh but also in Balochistan.

Coastal Cleanup day has become a popular activity around the world, however, we still are far behind to catch up with the world in order to save marine life and our own lives as well. Beachgoers throw trash into the water and get off without any punishment since there is no one to either apprise them regarding their responsibility or fine them so that they do not get off without any penalty. Trash comprising plastic in whopping quantity has proven to be deadly for turtles, seals etc. that live in the ocean.

Fishermen in Karachi’s coastal areas have often caught fishes entangled in some plastic material which is attributed to their death. Moreover, a recent study by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has staggered the world with the findings that on average people could be ingesting approximately 5 grams of plastic every week, which is the equivalent weight of a credit card. It is spooky to know that humans ingest 5 grams of plastic a week due to polluted water. It is a wake-up call for the entire world to ensure that our beaches are clean and oceans are not being littered for the benefit of the marine life and for the benefit of our descendants.

 

The entire world is under threat. In the United States, 94.4% of tap water samples contain plastic fibres. European water is also polluted with fibres showing up in 72.2% of water samples. It is presumed that an average person could be consuming 1,769 particles of plastic every week from water alone. There is no second opinion regarding the fact that plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade.

There has been an enormous increase in plastic production since 1950. The global production of plastic is believed to be over 350 million metric tons. Europe is one of the major producers and China leads the world in the production of plastic. It is also frightening that over 90% of plastic is not recycled. According to a research, published in 2015, eight million metric tons of plastic ends up in the oceans every year. Major chunk of plastic makes its way into oceans and returns back to our meals causing detrimental impact on the human health.

It is presumed that the current trend for the use of plastic may cripple the world in some way by 2050. It is high time that we stop using plastic packaging which is one of the major reasons for this havoc.

The recent efforts in Pakistan regarding the ban on plastic bags must be applauded. It is soothing to know that right from the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the respective chief ministers of provinces have come forward with the appeals for say no to plastic and don’t litter.

If the world is to be saved, prompt measures with concrete output are to be ensured.

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