(a) Current situation regarding packaging and environment
Independent experts in Pakistan say that environmental degradation
has taken an alarming shape mainly because of years of official failure to place
environmental concerns at the centre of all policy-making.
Most political parties contesting national elections do not even have a mention of
the environment in their agendas. During the past 10 years many new institutions
like Environment Protection Agencies, Pakistan Environment Protection Council,
National Conservation Strategy and environment tribunals were created, but
implementation has been slow and absolutely ineffective. The government had
committed Rs110 billion over a period of five to 10 years for environment
protection but the actual allocations remained under Rs one billion during 2002.
However there is no legal obligation to recycle any post-consumer food
packaging products such as paper bags, plastic pouches, or glass bottles.
The economic condition of the country, unfortunately, is still
bad. Pakistan’s international debt is approximately US $ 38 billion, with more
than 50% of the budget being spent on debt servicing and liquidation of loans
from international agencies like IMF and the World Bank. With more and more
people being pushed to survive below poverty line, environmental issues are
hardly a priority for them.
Very few people have the awareness to appreciate the environment-friendliness
of a Tetra Pak package, differentiating it from other packaging material, let alone
recyclability, degradability and green packaging. Since Tetra Pak Pakistan
doesn’t have any competitor in packaging food, except glass bottles and poly-
pouches, environmental performance doesn’t affect the purchase choices of
customers and consumers. Incidentally none of our competitors such as Coca
Cola, Pepsi and local companies packing food in poly-pouches etc are using
green messages in advertising. Tetra Pak, however, is widely perceived to be an
environmentally friendly company primarily due to its One Step Ahead
programme, which ensured positive image perception during the past many
years, e.g. World Environment Day celebration with a local NGO, plantation drive
in the factory, sponsorships of events organized by e-ngos such as WWF,
Wastebusters. Tremendous opportunities lay ahead for Tetra Pak to improve our
image and to win trust of from all stakeholders.
Traditionally, the state of environmental education in
Pakistan has been of poor quality and quantity. Most credit for the recent
proliferation of environment-related courses in Pakistan has to be given to the
increased legislatory action in environment, as well as to the increased market
demand for professionals with credentials in environment-related disciplines.
Unfortunately, no mechanism exists for the qualitative and quantitative