MoS-CC Gul warns all against the use of polythene bags

By Staff Reporter
Wednesday – March 3, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Having spearheaded public awareness campaign regarding ban on polythene bags and its deleterious environmental impacts, minister of state for climate change (MoS-CC) Zartaj Gul, Tuesday, warned the public to shun manufacturing, selling and use of polythene bags or face huge fines and confiscations.

According to a press release, she was talking to the media in the federal capital after sending off the polythene bags ban enforcement teams to various business centres of the capital city for monitoring the implementation of ban on polythene bags.

“Experiences have shown that the use of polythene bags has already wrecked havoc on environment, natural ecosystems and public health” warning “Thus, we no longer afford and tolerate manufacturing, sale, import and use of the environmental nuisance anymore,” MoS-CC Gul remarked.

She stressed that those who don’t shun the use of polythene bags despite alternative bags’ availability in adequacy in the markets at affordable prices are actually foes of the people and environment.

MoS-CC Gul said that while official enforcement teams have begun raiding markets in the federal capital and its adjoining areas from March 1, 2021, and imposing fines on shopkeepers and consumers for violating the law against use of polythene bags, more stringent measures will be taken in coming days against those flouting the law framed in the year 2019 banning polythene bags as punishable crime in the federal capital territory.

The enforcement teams have been reactivated and directed to visit the markets and other areas and impose fines on those found violating the ban on polythene bags.

These teams comprise senior officials from the climate change ministry, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and the federal capital police.

The climate change ministry in collaboration with Pak-EPA has imposed ban on manufacture, import, sale, purchase, storage and usage of polythene bags regulations from the August 14, 2019, in the federal capital territory.

Besides, implementation teams comprising the representatives of climate change ministry, Pak-EPA, capital development authority (CDA) / Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) had been notified on August 16, 2019, to enforce the ban within the limits of ICT.

But because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that hit the country early last year, the enforcement of said regulations slowed down and could not be implemented effectively ever since March 2020.

Now, following the massive public awareness campaigns through print, electronic and digital media over last one month regarding the ban on polythene bags that was initiated by the climate change ministry, the ban has been revived from March 1, 2021, and being strictly enforced across the capital city to rid it from polythene bags, which accounts for significant share in overall municipal waste and environmental degradation.

Lauding the role of the official enforcement teams, which are ensuring implementation of the law in all forms and manifestations, MoS-CC Gul urged the people to cooperate with the enforcement teams and ensure that our neighbourhoods and business areas are free from the social and environmental cancer of polythene bags.

Since the enforcement teams have visited the markets for ensuring all-out enforcement of the ban on polythene bags since March 1, polythene bags measuring hundreds of kilograms have been confiscated from shops and fines to the tune of thousands of rupees have been imposed during the polythene enforcement bags ban enforcement activities over last two days in the capital city’s bustling markets Aabpara market and G-9 markaz, climate change ministry joint secretary (JS) Syed Mujtaba Hussain said.

“More plans have already been hatched up for enforcement teams to strictly monitor the implementation of the ban and impose fines upon those found violating the ban in any form,” the ministry official informed the media, who is leading the implementation of the ban on polythene bags.

However, climate change ministry JS Hussain urged the people to play their part and avoid using the environmentally devastating polythene bags for the sake of their own and environment health.

The senior climate change ministry official said that all stakeholders including citizens, manufacturers and sellers had already been approached at all levels to bring the use of the polythene bags to a complete halt forever.

They have also been warned that in case of violation, an individual will be fined Rs 5,000, a manufacturer Rs 100,000 and a shopkeeper Rs 10,000, the senior joint secretary said.

Lead expert on plastic pollution and chemicals at the climate change ministry, deputy director (DD) Zaigham Abbas, who is also part of the ban enforcement team, felt sorry saying that though shopkeepers and people in markets showed being adequately aware of the negative impacts of polythene bags, they expressed different excuses behind their using of the polythene bags.

He said, “Now ban will be imposed in a more stringent way and no one will be spared of fines if caught in possession of the polythene bags,” explaining devastating impacts of the polythene bags on environment and public health, climate change ministry DD Abbas said that the polythene bags are non-biodegradable, they take around hundreds of years to decompose.

He continued that the polythene bags lead to a lot of waste that keeps amassing over the years and remain in the land and water bodies, which contributes to soil and water pollution.