Scoping study for the waste Assessment along the coast of Karachi Realizing the surge in marine plastic pollution in Karachi

Realizing the surge in marine plastic pollution in Pakistan, KSBL through Circular Plastic Institute conducted a scoping study of 3 selected sites on the coast of Karachi, namely 1) Fish Harbour West Wharf (Kalapani); 2) Kemari Fishing Jetty; and 3) Manora Channel (KPT Workshop). The aim of this study was to assess the sources and characterization of the waste which ends up at these selected sites.

  • Client: World Wild Fund (WWF) – Pakistan
  • Timeline: November 2022 to March 2023


Lack of comprehensive picture of plastic wastes in coastal areas. The expansion of commercial activities near coastal areas has led to a surge in waste originating from industries like boat manufacturing and seafood trading. Due to inadequate compliance and poor municipal waste management, this waste leaks into the marine environment, causing damage to vessels, harm to marine life, and ecological pollution. Quantifying and identifying the sources of this litter is crucial for stakeholders to devise effective strategies to prevent and reduce marine pollution. Characterizing the litter and understanding its transport pathways are essential steps for future prevention, monitoring, and modeling efforts to mitigate waste leakage into the marine ecosystem.



Examine sources of waste pollution with policy options. This study focused on marine pollution in coastal areas of Karachi, particularly West Warf, Kemari Jetty, and Manora. The research examined the sources and quantities of waste, mainly from boat manufacturing, export units, and local commercial activities. Stakeholders’ interviews were conducted to understand waste management practices identify the key contributors to ocean litter and roles and responsibilities of local stakeholders in mitigating. As per European Commission guidelines, we did waste quantification by “unit weight”. This approach gives a more point by point understanding of the composition of litter show in a specific zone which made a difference in distinguishing the potential sources of contamination. Then we focused on “integrated waste management approach” which we used on reducing plastic waste and stopping the production of plastic bags to protect the ocean environment. Implementation of a “Marine spatial planning” approach would be analysis of the benefits of an integrated approach to coastal and marine management.



Capable of targeting marine pollution. Our study signified the negative impacts of inadequate waste management together with the unauthorized disposal/discharge of waste by commercial and industrial units. Plastic was found to be the most prevalent litter category, With LDPE (e.g., single-use bags) and polystyrene (e.g., material in floating docks) being the most common types. Additionally, multi-layer packaging, such as chip Wrappers, was frequently observed in the surveyed areas. These present serious challenges, requiring improved planning and enforcement. The importance of an integrated waste management approach is stressed to reduce plastic leakage and control production of single-use plastic bags to protect the marine ecosystem. Overall, the study highlights the urgent need for improved waste management and compliance measures in coastal regions to mitigate marine pollution.

Shiza Aslam Shiza Aslam Director & Head of Research

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