Hunza to become first
plastic bag-free zone
in Pakistan

The local government’s initiative ‘Clean Hunza Project’ paves the way for
multinationals such as Nestlé to act on their global commitment.

By Kiran Farooq | February 2020

One of the five districts in Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza is located on Karakoram Highway at an altitude of 8000 feet. In recent years, it has become a popular attraction for local and foreign tourist with approximately one million tourists visiting the region in 2018. This influx of tourists on the one hand has created income generation for the local community but on the other, it has become a reason for increasing plastic waste in the district.

The issue of plastic waste in the environment is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today. Around 400 million tons of plastic are produced every year and is growing exponentially.

Plastic pollution is most visible in developing Asian and African nations, where garbage collection systems are often inefficient or nonexistent. Plastic trash has become so ubiquitous it has prompted efforts to write a global treaty negotiated by the United Nations.

Changing the way, we interact with packaging, as producers or consumers, requires us all to rethink the way we produce and consume.

Source: WWF

Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, and much of it is thrown away within just a few minutes of its first use. Most plastic may be single-use, but that does not mean it is easily disposable. When discarded in landfills or in the environment, plastic can take up to a thousand years to decompose.

We are already unable to cope with the amount of plastic waste we generate, unless we rethink the way we manufacture, use and manage plastics. Ultimately, tackling one of the biggest environmental scourges of our time will require governments to regulate, businesses to innovate and individuals to act.

Only nine per cent of the nine billion tons of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled. Most ends up in landfills, dumps or in the environment. If current consumption patterns continue, then by 2050 there will be around 12 billion tons of plastic litter in landfills and the environment.

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The writer is a freelance contributor and communications practitioner. She can be reached at

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