HUNZA: 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.
Initially the government has distributed 10,000 shopping bags locally for free. A government representative said about 50 women and over a dozen disabled people were employed to produce additional bags to meet the requirement of the people.
The anti-plastic movement was pioneered by some rich countries but now it has been adopted by developing countries like Tanzania, Bangladesh and now Pakistan as well.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said after Hunza the ban would be extended to Quetta and Islamabad also.
The ban has been put in place after Karakoram Area Development Organisation through a survey found that more than 70,000 polythene bags were being used every month in the area.