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Sindh govt to ban plastic bags from October 1.

KARACHI -- The government of Sindh has banned the plastic bags throughout the province with immediate effect from October 1, 2019. The announcement was made by the Spokesperson and Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Law, Environment and Coastal Development, Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Thursday. Wahab said that the decision which was taken by the provincial Department of Environment will impose a complete ban upon the sale, manufacturing and use of plastic bags throughout the province.

He said that the government has started a campaign against plastic bags among the masses and in this connection, cloth bags have been distributed among the people at Teen Talwar, Clifton whereas more cloth bags will be distributed in different areas of the city. 'The object of the distribution is to prohibit the use of plastic bags among the masses,' Wahab said. The CM's advisor asked the general public to cooperate with the Sindh government in this campaign, adding that the factories and shops using plastic bags as well as the media should also play their part in the betterment of their city and lifestyle.

Further, he said that after the violators will be dealt with according to the Law after 1st October 2019 and after the ban period action will be taken against the sellers, manufacturers and users of plastic bags. 'Plastic bags are the main reason for environmental pollution. Fifty per cent of rain nullas are choked due to plastic bags,' he concluded. The general public commended the government's decision and hoped that they would be able to live in a clean city in the near future.

The ban on plastic bags has been the talk of the country for a few days as political leaders seem to be preparing for a cleanliness drive for the betterment of the environment in more areas than one.

On August 1, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had emphasised the importance of a cleaner and greener environment. Qureshi is set to kick-off an environment-friendly campaign aimed at the eradication of plastic shopping bags from the capital; the campaign is set to be held on August 14.The foreign minister stressed that the environment was a responsibility of each and every citizen of Pakistan and it must be safeguarded and protected.

Earlier in May, State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul informed a National Assembly session that the government would impose a ban on plastic bags in Islamabad by August 14.

She said PM Imran Khan is a visionary man, who is focusing on climate change, which is affecting Pakistan negatively, adding that Pakistan ranked 7th in the list of countries affected due to natural disasters.Responding to a question, she had urged the masses to use cotton bags as an alternative to plastic bags.

Gul said that a statutory regulatory order under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 was being drafted to give legal cover to the proposed ban. 'Five thousand cotton bags have been distributed amongst employees of the federal government and more are being procured for distribution in weekly Bazars and other markets free of cost,' she revealed.

The minister had further said that her ministry distributed cotton bags among parliamentarians and journalists as an alternative to plastic bags.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Civil Aviation Authority has also banned the use of plastic bags at all airports across the country. Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat has directed the CAA to use paper and other environment-friendly bags to promote a healthy atmosphere. In addition to this, shops and restaurants at airport premises had also been ordered to prohibit the use of polythene bags.

The usage of non-degradable plastic is high in the country despite a ban on the manufacturing, purchasing and selling of non-degradable plastic bags. According to a 2018 survey report of Environment Protection Department, as many as 55 billion plastic bags are used per year in Pakistan while the amount of plastic use is increasing by 15 per cent each year.
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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 8, 2019
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