Pakistan goes plastic-free on Independence Day

Special Pakistan goes plastic-free on Independence Day
Zartaj Gul, state minister for climate change announced in a press conference held in Islamabad on July 23, 2019 that single use of plastic bags will be banned in the federal capital effective August 14, Pakistan’s 73rd Independence Day. (PID)
Updated 15 August 2019

Pakistan goes plastic-free on Independence Day

Pakistan goes plastic-free on Independence Day
  • 55 billion plastic bags are used in the country every year
  • Ban to help reduce harmful impact on the environment

ISLAMABAD: Single-use plastic bags will be banned in the federal capital from August 14, on the occasion of Pakistan’s 73rd Independence Day, as part of an initiative undertaken by the government and keeping in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s plans to make the country greener.
Pakistan is the 128th country to stop the use of the non-biodegradable material made from various type of polymers that are harmful to the environments.
“We are banning (single-use) plastic bags in Pakistan, especially our capital territory, and after we implement it on August 14, we want to replicate the (ban) across Pakistan,” Zartaj Gul, State Minister for Climate Change told Arab News after distributing reusable bags to promote the initiative.
“We want Pakistan to be plastic-free because it is a burden on our environment,” Gul said, adding that Pakistan wanted to demonstrate to the world that it is “contributing to green initiatives” because it is the most “vulnerable country (due to its ability to adapt to adverse effects of greenhouse gases) and is ranked number seven on the index of climate change”.
According to the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (EPA), 55 billion single-use plastic bags are used every year. The objective of the ban is to reduce litter and trash, remove hard to recycle plastic bags from the solid waste system, and protect the environment.
The ban, under the new regulation of Environmental Protection Act 1997, will impact all retailers, vendors, manufacturers, traders, and commercial users of plastic bags. However, the EPA will grant concessions for specific use flat bags used by industries and for waste collection.
Commending the move, several environmentalists urged the government to run awareness campaigns to educate the public which is highly dependent on the use of plastic bags across the country.
“We need to hold advocacy sessions; we need to highlight the issue in order to tackle the looming crisis of plastic pollution,” Noreen Fatima, an environmental researcher working at the National Institute of Maritime Affairs told Arab News, explaining the dangers of using plastic.
“It is impacting our environment, including our marine life, causing air pollution and disease and the main dilemma is that it is not biodegradable,” she said.