Pakistan Government officially launched the ‘Clean and Green Pakistan campaign last week. The campaign targets to clean the air, rivers, land and make Pakistan green through tree plantation in the next 5 years. The idea of clean and green Pakistan is awesome and as citizens, everyone dreams of it. The question is: are we ready for this change? Who will make Pakistan clean and green? The export gov, which is a joint venture of the US department of commerce’s international trade administration and 19 US government agencies, reports that Pakistan generates about 48 million tons of solid waste a year, which is on rise by more than 2 percent annually. The report (2016) of the United Nations Environment Program on waste management in Pakistan shows that food waste contributes to 30 percent of the total Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) followed by ash, bricks and dirt wastes, yard wastes and plastic waste, which are about 18 percent, 14 percent and 9 percent respectively. Several cases on disturbance of aquatic life and their death in the Arabian sea by Karachi’s coastal areas are reported by the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).Pakistan due to the plastic waste. Christian Schmidt and his co-researchers at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research- Germany in their work “Estimation of global plastic loads delivered by rivers into the sea” reported, that the Indus River is the 2nd highest contributor to the ocean’s pollution through plastic debris, after the Yangtze river which tops the list. The analysis was based on samples from 57 rivers of the world. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported in “Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Update and SDG Baselines 2017” that Pakistan is still amongst the top 10 countries ranked by population without access to clean drinking water. Around 21 million Pakistanis do not have access to safe drinking water. The ground and surface water is contaminated primarily through sewerage and further contamination comes through the disposal of toxic chemicals from industrial effluents, pesticides, and fertilizers from agriculture sources. In terms of the worst-case scenario, Pakistan’s ambient air quality is not far behind solid waste and water pollution. Even though Pakistan’s ambient air quality standards are lower than those set by World Health Organization (WHO). However, even those standards are not met by us. For instance, WHO recommended Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) concentration in ambient air to be less than 25 micrograms per cubic meter of ambient air for 24 hours on average, whereas Pakistan’s allowable limit is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. PM 2.5 is the the particulate matter of 2.5-micron diameter or less, which is inhalable. As a developing country, we do not have enough infrastructure to cater to waste either municipal or industrial. The municipal solid waste collected from houses through carts, trolleys is placed at a local point from where it is collected and taken to the dumping place. However, reports show a maximum collection of 60-70 percent in general and improper and overloaded dumping facilities, which leaves the garbage mishandled The report of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), online shows that PM 2.5 in ambient air of Karachi on October 10, 2018, was 158 micrograms per cubic meter of ambient air and similar trends were observed on other days. It is not only about PM 2.5 or Karachi, the World Bank’s report, ‘Cleaning Pakistan’s Air: Policy Options to Address the Cost of Outdoor Air Pollution’, indicates that air pollutants like sulfur dioxide (SO2), and lead (Pb) are also on the higher side than recommended limits by WHO in Pakistan. Daily reports of Environment Protection Department (EPD), Government of the Punjab shows similar trends in PM10 (particle with a diameter of 10 micron or less) and carbon monoxide (CO). As a developing country, we do not have enough infrastructure to cater to waste either municipal or industrial. The municipal solid waste collected from houses through carts, trolleys is placed at a local point from where it is collected and taken to the dumping place. However, reports show a maximum collection of 60-70 percent in general and improper and overloaded dumping facilities, which leaves the garbage mishandled. Similarly, industrial waste which is hazardous to the environment is not treated by majority of the industries. For instance, take Sindh where Pakistan’s major industries are situated. The Government of Sindh reported that out of 1081 industries, which generate wastewater only 104 have the wastewater treatment plants. Reports and observations show that untreated industrial waste accumulates in canals, rivers and ultimately in the sea. Pakistan is building a fleet of coal-fired power plants of above 10,000 MW capacity in cooperation with the Chinese government in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and some of which is already operational. Imported as well as local coal shall be used for the plants. Super-critical as well subcritical technology plants are being installed. Coal-fired power plants are well known for their dirt and hazardous gases. Carbon dioxide (CO2), CO, oxides of sulfur (SOx), Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter are the major air pollutants of coal-fired power plants. Many would argue, and I have encountered such arguments in different discussions as well that technology being brought by China has a good number of Supercritical plants, which has a low emission rate. Let me explain why this is not true. Sub-critical, super-critical and ultra-super critical are just steam cycles and each has different efficiencies, sub-critical being the less efficient and ultra-supercritical is the most efficient, whereas this has nothing to do with the burning of coal or emissions. The same quantity of coal burned in any of these technologies under same parameters shall emit the same quantity and quality of the flue gas. However, the power generated from the same amount of coal will be higher for ultra-super critical and lower for sub-critical. So, yes this means we are going to have much more air pollutants in the near future than what we have at present. Considering the energy crises and financial situation, we must accept wholeheartedly, whatever comes to survive. However, we need to start researching on the development of post-combustion coal-fired CO2 capture technologies and the reduction of particulate matter, SOx and NOx. Challenges are inevitable, not answering them timely can cost us the dream of a clean and green Pakistan. Author is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director for Quality Enhancement Cell at Dawood University of Engineering and Technology Karachi, Pakistan. Author can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 20th 2018.