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Pakistan

Waste sector: GHG emissions likely to increase, warns ADB

ISLAMABAD: Greenh-ouse gas (GHG) emissions in the waste sector for Pakistan are expected to increase with the rapid...
Published March 17, 2022
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ISLAMABAD: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the waste sector for Pakistan are expected to increase with the rapid population growth and urbanization, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The bank in its latest report, “Waste Sector Inclusion in the Revised Nationally Determined Contributions of Pakistan”, noted that Pakistan generates around 28 million tons of municipal waste annually, with at least a 50 percent organic fraction.

The report recommended that to improve the accuracy of historical and projected emission estimates and track progress toward GHG mitigation, a measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) system is required. This would bring information together into a sustainable and functional system by identifying institutional arrangements for coordinating the participation of stakeholders and giving them defined roles and responsibilities to ensure the smooth flow of information. Transparent output for planning and tracking action can thus be produced.

Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) should provide particular focus on the waste sector by studying its quantity, composition, and disposal methods. The waste sector has limited data in Pakistan and challenges in improving data management on waste generation and estimating GHG emissions are considerable.

A streamlined institutional arrangement for the sector is required to bring information together into a sustainable and functional system with defined responsibilities and coordinated participation with stakeholders, the bank recommended.

Opportunities for waste-related mitigation are important and should be explored. Alternative approaches to solid waste management are available that could reduce GHG emissions. For example, using anaerobic decomposition to produce renewable energy from organic waste could directly reduce GHG emissions.

Similarly, recycling aluminum would reduce the need to produce it, thereby conserving energy and indirectly reducing emissions.

The estimation of GHG emissions from solid waste disposal, biological treatment of solid waste, and incineration and open burning of solid waste begins with the collection of activity data from waste generation, composition, and management.

Solid waste generation is the common basis for these activity data.

Currently available data suggest that the country generates around 28 million tons of municipal waste annually, with at least a 50 percent organic fraction. Very little biological treatment or disposal at engineered landfill sites is done.

There is an urgent need to generate more accurate and segregated data to improve the accuracy of the waste emission estimates. Providing data at the national level requires data to be collected from more than 500 local councils—a challenging task in the light of the limited technical capacity available.

However, various ongoing donor-funded projects in the urban sector could provide much useful information and capacity building on the links between solid waste management options and GHG emissions. Data shows that the contribution of the municipal waste sector to overall GHG emissions must be taken seriously.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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