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A joint collaboration between Govt of Gilgit-Baltistan and Nestlé Pakistan has facilitated waste management of up to 2700 tons of packaging waste until 2023

The world over, plastic waste has been recognized as a huge challenge in environmental sustainability. Siargao island in Philippines, a surfer’s paradise, was termed as the worlds most beautiful island in South East Asia, by Conde Nast Traveler in 2018. But research showed concerns over the islands tourism-dependent economy over pollution that saw its shores littered with garbage.

Many tourist sites all over the world are facing a similar ordeal. A surge in tourist season, has these sites throng with visitors who litter and leave. Pakistan too has a handful of such locations that are slowly experiencing an increase in issue of waste management. Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu, are three of Pakistan’s famous tourist destinations up north, and have become a popular attraction for local and foreign tourists with more than 1 million tourists visiting the area annually. These numbers have started increasing since the last few years, as more and more facilities for tourists have been made available in the area, along with access through direct flights by the national flag carrier.

While the region is booming, as influx of tourists has created income generation for the local communities, it is also increasing plastic waste in the region. The district administration already has a waste management company operated by the government itself to manage the waste in the region. However, Nestlé Pakistan, in line with their global vision for a waste-free future stepped up efforts, and partnered with the Govt of Gilgit Baltistan to launch the Clean Gilgit-Baltistan Project.

The project focuses on waste segregation and recycling systems for Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu with installation of three baling machines, to encourage waste management of up to 2700 tons of plastic and paper packaging waste by end of 2023 to make the region waste-free and promote sustainable tourism in the region. The company has also trained 30 master trainers in Lahore to operate these machines for waste management, apart from donating 10,000 reusable bags to the Gilgit Baltistan Waste Management Company for Hunza and Gilgit, for further distribution among the communities.

Under this project, Nestlé also installed 48 Benches and 48 Bins (developed from recycled plastics) at tourist hotspots in Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu for instance Gilgit City Park, Attabad Lake and Hussaini Bridge – Hunza, Upper Kachura Lake, Lower Kachura Road, Viewpoint Sadpara Lake – Skardu, among others.

This project marks Nestlé Pakistan’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of packaging waste by improving its management and recycling, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals 12, 13, 15 and 17 – Responsible Consumption & Production, Climate Change, Life on Land and Partnership for the Goals.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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