How can we make a difference in cleaning up our environment?

Taimur Khan, AJ Khan Associates, Lahore, Pakistan


On Sundays, I usually go for a walk in the morning; great exercise. Sometimes I wish I could do it more often, but I feel too lazy and think I’ll probably just start a routine from tomorrow onwards; it’s not like I am going to get fat overnight.

I fear the same logic applies (with a bit modification) minus the fat part. Who cares if I properly dispose garbage and not care for the environment; it’s not like my actions alone would have an impact on the whole environment.

This idea of feeling insignificant is what we should all strive to change, more so in developing countries because people living there don’t as of yet understand or let alone appreciate the importance of environment as a resource.

As more and more jobs are being created in waste management business in recycling, composting, landfill management, incineration, and waste to energy scenarios and so on, this economical drive is beginning to change the mindset of people, who previously just were disgusted by waste, now all of sudden are fighting over claims of disputed trash sites and those fights can get ugly sometimes. As such, more needs to be done for bolstering this underlying economical reality.

Kudos to technologies like waste to energy plants, developing countries can sell their waste to countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany and other countries that require more and more garbage to turn profit. Through interstate agreements, maybe developed countries could either pay for the shipment of waste transported from developing countries or also share profit proceeds.

As with European countries that are reaching zero landfill levels to reduce methane emissions, otherwise produced as a byproduct of dumping waste at landfills, developing countries could also strive to reach such levels by promoting recycling and by opting for disposal of waste through waste to energy plants. There could also be some green credits schemes carved out from the global carbon credits arrangements for incentivizing such programs. Further the competition between recycling and incineration could be reduced by pursuing sustainable waste management.

Illegal dumping often at times becomes a feeding ground for diseases that affects public health, quality of life and reduces the number and the quality of working days of men and woman alike; at least there is no gender discrimination. As such we need to raise awareness and set workshops to educate the public about the adverse effects of illegal dumping.

There could also be set up a global waste management authority to monitor and fund projects for environment preservation and protection across all the countries. In the end, the optimal course is to strike a balance between keeping the earth’s natural resources intact while also sustaining humanity on its renewable income; that is we must go with the grain of nature.

So I guess if I want to stay healthy, I have to exercise more and go green.

_taimur khan Taimur Khan

Mr. Taimur Khan is a partner at AJ Khan Law Associates. The firm specialises in environmental litigation and consultancy. He was formerly a consultant to the Attorney-General of Pakistan. He has particular expertise in the areas of corporate, constitutional, finance and environmental law. Taimur is an editor of Environment Monitor, a leading environmental journal dedicated to the preservation and protection of the environment. He holds an LLB from Punjab University Law College where he earned a gold medal. Taimur also holds an MBA in Banking and Finance from Allama Iqbal University. He was awarded the Dean’s tuition fellowship for the LLM program at the University of California, Los Angeles.


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