Did you know? An estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste enters the oceans every year. The situation is only going to aggravate by 2050 - a year where it is said that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
In Pakistan, more than 3.3 million tonnes of plastic is wasted each year with most of it ending up in landfill sites, unmanaged dumps or strewn about land and water bodies across the country.
The pandemic exacerbated the plastic problem manifold; the use of protective clothing, usually made from disposable, single-use plastic, soared, panic buying caused by lockdowns around the world led to a surge in takeaway waste and paranoia of viral transmissions promoted throwaway culture of fast consuming goods.
Sea shores and streets laden with disposed face masks, used water bottles, spoons and other forms of non-biodegradable plastic waste.
What is #FaceThePlastic and how does it address the problem?
Immediate and effective steps are the need of the hour to curtail the use of plastics. Unilever Pakistan is working proactively in that direction.
Through its newly-introduced #FaceThePlastic campaign, the company has taken upon itself to confront climate change and environmental degradation by promising to reduce its plastic waste by half, while reducing its carbon footprint during the process.
Under the #FaceThePlastic initiative, Unilever Pakistan vows to:
Reduce its virgin plastic packaging by 50% by 2025, with one-third (more than 100,000 tonnes) coming from an absolute plastic reduction.
Help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells by 2025.
The brand believes the amount of plastics discarded each year can be significantly reduced, or even eliminated altogether, if large scale businesses step forward and shoulder some responsibility.
Leading by example, Unilever Pakistan would start by making reusable or refillable packs, using alternative, recycled packaging and introducing 'naked products' that use none at all.
Local celebrities and influencers urge Pakistanis to step up and #FaceThePlastic
Rapid growth in use of plastic during the pandemic was noticed by celebs and influencers and many who passionately support the cause of a greener planet.
Celebs like Sarwat Gilani, Shaneira Akram and Muniba Mazari took to internet to share a video about how much waste we produce in Pakistan, and urged the public to #FaceThePlastic.
Shaneira Akram shared some alarming statistics related to plastic pollution in Pakistan.
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Sarwat Gilani commends Unilever Pakistan on its ecofriendly initiative:
Social activist and talk show host, Muniba Mazari also shed light on the grave situation and requested people to partake some responsibility:
Responsible twitteratis also initiated a trend to create awareness and appreciate Unilever Pakistan's efforts.
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Here is what Unilever Pakistan has done so far
Having already been conscious of the plastic waste it was generating on the daily, Unilever Pakistan has reduced plastic from a number of its products and the packaging has been improved to better, recycled plastic.
Here are some Unilever Pakistan products that now carry recycled plastic packaging:
In addition, the brand has introduced plastic waste collection system in Rahim Yar Khan, which currently hosts more than 200 households. The collected waste is redirected to relevant recyclers and waste to energy convertors.
Not only this, renowned industry players like Coca Cola, Engro and Fatima Fertilizers, joined forces with Unilever Pakistan and UNDP Pakistan for a four-day, deep dive session in the city to deconstruct the plastic problem in the country and look for potential solutions.
Subsequently, Unilever Pakistan and UNDP Pakistan signed an MoU to work with local innovators and government to ensure a systematic transition to circular plastics in the country.
The company also aims to double such efforts in the future and hopes to encourage more and more businesses to lend a hand towards plastic minimisation in Pakistan, in a bid to preserve the planet in the long run.
Call for partners
The planet has endured years of damage inflicted by hazardous plastic and carbon footprints from various industries.
Whilst Unilever Pakistan vows to do its best to bring change, the efforts will only bear more fruit if more organisations step up and #FaceThePlastic collectively.
Unilever Pakistan is actively looking for partners who can efficiently recycle the plastic waste collected. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how you can help.
Follow the hashtag #FaceThePlastic on social media for more updates.
This content is produced in paid partnership by Unilever Pakistan and is not associated with or necessarily reflective of the views of Dawn.com or its editorial staff.