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Zartaj vows to enforce ban on use of plastic bags

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ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Wednesday vowed to fully enforce the ban slapped on use of plastic shopping bags in the federal capital.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, she said the ban will be implemented with the cooperation of the people including the civil society and the food chains, reported Radio Pakistan.
Zartaj Gul regretted the incident that took place yesterday with a food chain of the federal capital.
She said Islamabad administration and the officials of the ministry of climate change were not acting on personal capacity but they have been fully authorized to ensure implementation of the ban on plastic bags.
The minister said Pakistan will be made plastic-free as the ban on plastic bags in the federal capital has turned into a countrywide campaign. She said other provinces are also showing the intent and commitment to make their districts plastic-free.
On July 21, Gul had said single-use plastic bags would be banned in Islamabad from August 14.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, she said according to a survey, about two million people in Islamabad use three to four bags daily, which is alarming for the environment.
Meanwhile, as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government has undertaken a fascinating initiative of ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ for combating climate change and its adverse impacts on the environment and health, the German Embassy in Islamabad distributed cloth bags among people and students as an alternative to polythene shopping bags.
Since August 14, under the Clean and Green Pakistan campaign, polythene bags, plastic bottles, and wrappers for carrying food items have been completely banned in Islamabad.
The official Twitter account of the Embassy on Tuesday posted multiple pictures of the staff being welcomed by citizens at different locations in the federal capital.
The pictures from schools, bazaars and parking lots showed citizens receiving cloth bags from German Embassy staff.
“After ban of plastic bags entered into force in #Islamabad, we distributed cloth bags today at a Government school, Aabpara market & Blue Area. Important to raise people’s awareness to #avoidPlastic for the sake of our environment! #Reuse is the only solution,” stated a tweet by the German Embassy.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Environment has constituted special teams to conduct raids on a daily basis and confiscate polythene bags in the capital city.
About 2.5 million polythene bags were seized by the teams as part of the crackdown.
The ban on the use of polythene bags in the federal capital entails a permanent halt of its manufacturing, trading and sale. The Ministry of Climate Change has introduced alternate cotton bags in the place of plastic bags.
The Sindh government has also announced plans to make the province a plastic bag-free by October 2019.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also asserted that the approval to ban plastic bags in the province would be accorded in the next meeting of the provincial cabinet.
Ministry of Climate Change has allocated around Rs9.5 billion for projects under “Clean Green Pakistan” movement.
The ministry had earmarked maximum budget for the comprehensive plan (PC-1) for 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, prepared in consultation with four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) to the amount of Rs7.5 billion where an amount of Rs2 billion had been allocated for the clean component, a senior official in the ministry had said.
It is shocking to know, he had said the current situation of Pakistan in the water, sanitation and hygiene sectors was as appalling as the average situation in the world.
“Around 60 percent of the generated waste remains un-collected, 93 percent waste water remains un-treated and 42 percent population does not have access to basic sanitation facilities. As an impact of this, 110 children die every day due to poor sanitation, 3 million people are annually hospitalized due to waterborne diseases and overall the country loses in terms of the GDP because of sanitation and water related issues,” he had added. – NNI