Punjab Environment Protection Agency (EPA-Punjab) on Thursday has ordered complete ban on the use of polythene bags in the whole province by August 31.
Shopkeepers have been given the notice to give up the use of polythene and oxo-biodegradable bags by 31st August 2020. It has been decided by the provincial government that notices will be issued at the first stage to stores in case the use of polythene bags is found at shopping malls, department stores, bakeries and shops. In the second stage, legal action will be taken.
EPA-Punjab has taken this step in the light of directions of Lahore High Court so as to make the environment clean. In this regard, the environment department Rawalpindi region has been instructed that the visits of markets along with the assistant commissioner may be arranged. If the use of polythene shopping bags is found, concerned shopkeepers may be issued the notices.
The environmental department has arranged different teams shopkeepers\traders association have been informed about the decision of imposing a strict ban on polythene bags by the government of Punjab. They have also been asked to give up the use of polythene bags by 31st August.
It will be relevant to mention here that in the past, many efforts have been made by provincial governments to abolish the use of polythene bags but the factory owners who manufacture the polythene bags along with their distributors strongly opposed the push. Owing to strong resistance, the provincial government found no other way but to surrender.
Some manufacturers brought the replacement of polythene bags in the form of resolvable bags and these bags were not only welcomed by the shopkeepers and common citizens but many big shopping malls started the use of these environment-friendly bags.
However, the use of these biodegradable plastic bags is very limited. It is a bitter fact that almost 100 percent Pakistanis believe that the manufacturing and use of polythene bags are destroying the environment of Pakistan to a greater extent. It is hoped that this time, the government of Punjab resolutely push to implement these orders.