Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir said that polythene bags have become a social and environment epidemic due to its massive use over last several years in the country.

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir said that polythene bags have become a social and environment epidemic due to its massive use over last several years in the country.

“now we are taking all-out measures to stem its use at all levels through punitive actions and promotion of alternative environmental-friendly bags,” she told a news conference here on Thursday.

The minister said eliminating polythene bags’ use is backbone of the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for Clean Green Pakistan so as to protect environment and public health.”

“However, we will continue to chase people involved in its use, sale, manufacturing and import and take punitive actions and impose fines on them,” she added.

The minister also appreciated the team work of all stakeholders involving officials from the Climate Change Ministry, Pak-EPA Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration for making the capital city polythene bags free.

Zartaj Gul stated that the polythene bags ban enforcement teams, consisting of the representatives of the afore-mentioned government organisations, have so far fined dozens of violators including consumers, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturing entities during market visits and raids conducted since March 1.

“It’s really heartening that despite stiff opposition from various quarters, the enforcements teams are continuing their momentum of efforts for ridding the capital city of polythene bags,” she highlighted.

The minister also launched an android app ‘City Islamabad Application, where citizens of the capital city can register complaint against the use of polythene bags at any level and shape.

The registration of the complaint on the app would trigger action against the polythene bags ban violators by the concerned authorities and the complainant can also check the status regarding his or her complaint on the app, Zartaj Gul explained.

Zartaj Gul urged the consumers, retailers, manufacturers to join the present government’s efforts in this regard for achieving overall environmental sustainability and protection of public health from adverse impacts of the polythene bags.

The state minister also urged the provincial governments to join the incumbent government’s campaign against polythene bags and replicate the model being adopted in Islamabad. So that, the country could be made free from environmental nuisance of the polythene bags, which also key cause of urban flooding.

The Climate Change Secretary Naheed Shah Durrani said that the anti polythene bags campaign in Islamabad is being carried out under the Ban on polythene Bags Regulations, 2019, after extensive consultations with all relevant government and non-governmental stakeholders.

“However, we are very much committed to enforce the Regulations in letter and spirit, come what may, and role of business community and media is key to successful drive against the polythene bags,” she told media during the address.

Meanwhile, Syed Mujtaba Hussain, who is leading the entire enforcement drive against polythene bags in the city and Senior Joint Secretary of the Climate Change Ministry also briefed the media about details regarding fines and confiscation of polythene bags during the any-polythene drive launched since March 1, 2021.

So far, fines of Rs490,000 have been slapped on the ban violators including manufacturers and hundreds of thousands of polythene bags measuring over 220 kg have been confiscated during various raids in urban and rural localities of the capital city, he said.


Originally Published at The International News