LAHORE: Citizens, environmentalists and traders have urged the Punjab government to implement a ban on non-degradable polythene bags following the federal government’s ban on the manufacture, sale, purchase and use of plastic bags in the federal capital of Islamabad.
Ministry of Climate Change had imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags in Islamabad with an aim to control environmental pollution and enable exporters to comply with environment-friendly packaging. The law has been largely accepted, appreciated and supported.
According to data issued by the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) in 2010, as many as 12 billion plastic bags were used in Pakistan during the year 1990-91. In 2005-06, the consumption rose to 43 billion, and in 2007-08, up to 55 billion.
With 15 per cent annual growth in the production of plastic bags, the estimated use of the product in the country would be 112 billion by 2014-15.
Based on a 2004 study conducted by the Environmental Protection Council (EPC) Pakistan, the country’s annual plastic bags production and consumption totalled 55 billion, with growth projected at 15 per cent a year.
Consumption, which is estimated at 397 bags per person, was forecast to be more than double (112 billion) by 2015, according to the EPC.
The Punjab government prohibited the manufacture, sale, use and import of polythene bags in 2002. Violators of the law were subject to a fine of Rs50,000 and/or a prison term of up to three months.