Author: Saima Bashir


Pakistan’s per capita municipal solid waste ranges from 0.283 to 0.612 kg/day. Statistics suggest that Pakistan emitted 490 million tons of CO2 equivalents in the year 2017-2018 where 4% was contributed by waste sector. Increased population burdens the already struggling resources of solid waste management in the cities, and at the same time, changing consumption and production patterns is leading to newer waste streams such as plastics, electronic waste, or hazardous chemical wastes for which effective and efficient waste management processes have yet to be firmly implemented. Throughout the world, concepts like circularity, Waste to Energy or Circular Economy are being popularly explored to socially, economically and environmentally benefit from it. This model leads us to two areas of research that this study will cover. First, the study will aim to explore economically feasible waste management solutions for waste managed by formal and informal waste sectors in Pakistan’s context. Secondly, the study will explore the options for creating a legislative environment for piloting the circular economy. The study finds that waste composition of Bahawalpur and Gujranwala have highest percentage of organic waste followed by Plastics and paper. All these categories have high circularity potential where the cost-benefit analysis shows that the most feasible technology for waste that ends up in open dumps is gasification followed by pyrolysis and incineration. Unmanaged waste percentage for Bahawalpur and Gujranwala reflects the lack of capacity of public institutions to manage city waste. The study also identifies and suggests measures to create an enabling environment for Pakistan to transition to a circular economy model. This will require the participation of all the actors in the value chain as well as the decision-makers, donors and researchers. The recommendations include the role of public sector to create an ownership and gather consensus of the larger audience, supporting legislations like levy on fossil fuels, creating standards for recycled products, green purchasing policy for public sector, etc., disseminating the information on grants, direct and indirect investments for filling the financial gap, leveraging Public-private partnerships, education, awareness and training of government, businesses, and society and monitoring progress.

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Supervisor: Karim Khan, Ghulam Samad

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