Karachi, October 18, 2018: Due to non-compliance of import policy order conditions by the Customs Authorities and the EPA Sindh, dumping of hazardous plastic scrap is increasing drastically. From January till August this year 30,845 metric tonnes of hazardous plastic scrap has been dumped in Pakistan through Sea Port of Karachi.
In the year 2017 total 35,600 MTs plastic scrap was dumped in Pakistan by the importers who supply it to anti-environment conventional recycling facilities. EPA Sindh is issuing the annual recycling capacity/quota to import to the importers on an ad-hoc basis and high numbers of quota for import of plastic scrap were issued to a lot of importers.
Compared to 2018 and 2017, 2016 was a better year when total dumping of plastic scrap was recorded at around 5,000 metric tons. Sources said that dumping of hazardous plastic scrap increased multiple times in 2017 in comparison of 2016 and in 2018 till date which is a very alarming situation and requires the attention of Government bodies, especially the Customs.
Authorities and Sindh Environment Protection Agency which is supposed to control the influx of hazardous plastic scrap and its environmental impacts.
Sources informed that plastic/PVC scrap is being imported by changing it in different forms like powder, granules, flakes through crushing etc and the item description is being changed as “PVC Recycled Granules” while Custom authorities are clearing all consignments without getting tested through PCSIR laboratory even they are not asking any lab testing certificate and reports.
According to the Import Policy Order 2016, Appendix-B, Part I, Entry 52 plastic scrap having PCT codes of 3915.1000, 3915.2000, 3915.3000, 3915.9000 are only permissible to industrial consumers after conducting extensive tests according to the Basel Convention and subject to certification of recycling facilities of the manufacturers by respective Environmental Protection Agencies.
Customs Authorities may also get the consignments tested through PCSIR laboratories. These major checks are the essence of the regulations but unfortunately in our country enforcement never comes in. Resultantly the sufferers are our nation, our children, the health of people of Pakistan and our environment even at the national and internal level it is recognized and accepted the fact that we are the
According to the import policy order, these PCT codes concerning granules made by the recycling of plastics waste are also allowed to import subject to certification from the exporting country that the granules being exported are free from the hazardous substance as defined in Basel Convention. It adds Customs Authorities shall ensure strict compliance of the condition.
Moreover, the companies will certify that the consignment being exported to Pakistan does not contain any hazardous substance as defined in the Basel Convention. Customs authorities, in case of doubt, may randomly get any consignment tested through PCSIR or any other government certified laboratory.
Due to the irresponsible behaviour of Customs Authorities, and Environmental Protection Agencies, the hazardous plastic scrap is not being excluded where different daily usage products of hazardous plastic scrap are being manufactured and are being used by the common peoples, sources claimed.
The unabated import of hazardous plastic scrap mainly due to lack of proper implementation of laws has increasingly become a source of concern for local industry as well as environmentalists.
Such lax regulation mechanism virtually proves a futile exercise as it effectively nullifies basic essence of import policy initiated by the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Climate Change following an order passed by the Lahore High Court in 2015.