Khudayar Mohla –
ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): Pakistan is facing fragile political will due to lack of consumer awareness over market abuses and social injustices as the situation is making dent in sustainable consumption of products in the society.
March 15 of every year ‘World Consumers Rights Day’ (WCRD) is celebrated around the globe but there is a long way to go in achieving the target of consumer awareness over their rights as well as worst impacts of plastic pollution in Pakistan.
Underscoring the need to inform consumers about sustainable consumption on the Day, a national consumer organization Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) called for institutional arrangements where government, market forces and consumers can ensure pollution free environment for themselves and the posterity.
It is worth mentioning here that recently Pakistan has imposed ban on plastic bags usage and encouraged the use of cloth shopping bags in its place to curb plastic pollution. Efforts in stopping pollution and littering of non-recyclable waste sought administration attention to give priority for imposing the ban in letter and spirit across the board in the matter.
Participants of spreading awareness seminar of the CRPC Islamabad about consumer rights on March 15, observed the day by promoting the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and protesting about the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.
Emphasizing the need for the collaborative effort, the CRCP revealed that unsustainable consumption has become a significant concern over the last decade and individual consumer choices have changed not only around the world but in Pakistan.
Realizing the impact of unsustainable consumption on the environment, the CRCP unfolded the theme for the WCRD as “The Sustainable Consumer”, which calls the need for sustainable consumption globally.
The CRCP is of the view, “This commemoration is at the right time when initiatives like Digital Pakistan and e-commerce are the new face of changing Pakistan”.
Like previous years, the CRCP is celebrating the day this year as well in view of the fact that only an informed citizen can play a crucial role in promoting sustainability in consumption and production to safeguard the rights of the generations to come.
The CRCP termed raising awareness amongst various stakeholders is an important step in helping to put consumer protection and environmental safety in place, adding the growing consumerism has tremendously increased the supply and consumption of goods and services in both international and local markets.
The trend has also served damage to the natural environment in the form of environmental, water, and air pollution, smog, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming, water contamination, etc.
There is no denying the fact that environmental issues are transforming business practices. Government and markets are thinking about the ways consumer goods and services are produced and consumed. However, engaging consumers with efficient consumption behaviors is of utmost importance.
Despite the change in consumer choices, consumer behaviors are adversely impacting the environment in the country. Usually, the cartons of various products, wrapper of snacks, plastic bags, etc. are thrown away, which end up clogging drains and sewers, piling up in corners of parks and lots, polluting fields and water streams, etc.
Unilever states that almost 70 percent of its GHG footprint depends on which products consumers choose and whether they use and dispose of in a sustainable manner. This indicates that individual consumer choices and behaviors impact the environment more than anything else.
It is also corroborated by a study titled “Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption” that finds between 60-80 percent of the impacts on the planet come from household consumption.