ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Wednesday announced the plan to ban polythene bags across Punjab.
Addressing a press conference, Zartaj Gul said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had sent the agenda of banning plastic bags in all the major cities in the province which would be followed suit by small cities as well.
On this occasion, she did not shy from lauding the Sindh government’s initiative of banning non-biodegradable polythene bags in the province and said the campaign launched by her ministry was countrywide. She said the Sindh government had acknowledged that plastics bags were one of the main reasons of choking of drains during the recent monsoon which created urban flooding in Karachi.
The minister clarified that initially the government would ban single-use plastic bags only.
She said people had become so used to it that billions of shopping bags were being used annually in the country. She said it took 500 years to plastic bags to erode.
Zartaj Gul said the climate change ministry did not intend to carry out raids and would deal the matter leniently.
Earlier this month, the Sindh government announced to put an end to the use of plastic bags and start a campaign against it from October 1, 2019.
In a video message, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said, “The use of plastic bags is disastrous for the environment. We request citizens to support the campaign and help the Sindh government save the environment.”
Viewing the rising environmental pollution, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan in April 2019 banned plastic shopping bags in Hunza which has provided some relief to the environment but created little trouble for the people.
The provincial government first launched an awareness campaign against hazards of plastic waste and then imposed a complete ban on its use and purchase.
Everyone is not happy with the change as plastic bags are handy and cheap. Now people have to bring cloth and paper bags to purchase commodities. It has become a challenge because there is no alternative available in the market. Only a limited stock of cloth bags are available. It is pertinent to mention that before arrival of polythene bags, cloth bags were commonly used for shopping in the valley.