Adviser to the Prime Minister/Federal Minister for Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam has said that Pakistan’s toxic love affair with plastic bag has to end and that beyond 14th August, no plastic bag would be tolerated. Banning plastic bag is a public interest litigation and it will only be effective with public cooperation. A meeting regarding banning polythene shopping bag was held in Ministry of Climate Change on Tuesday in which senior officials from Ministry of Climate Change, EPA and ICT participated. While chairing the meeting Federal Minister directed ICT and EPA officials to chalk out a plan regarding distribution of alternative bags and dissemination of information regarding their availability. Minister was told that out of all the plastic materials polythene had been targeted being non-recyclable and hazardous to the environmental. Secretary Ministry of Climate Change told that each importer/distributer of such plastic bags had been directed to devise a plant how to collect and then recycle plastic bags. This would be producer’s responsibility to handle post-consumer stage. Only exceptions include industrial packaging, municipal waste, hospital waste and hazardous waste. Exception criteria is very strict and based on the principle of product integrity and non-availability of alternative packaging material.
Moreover, there is a system of labeling and record keeping in place in order to record importer / manufacture’s identify and percentage of recycled content. Efficiency of the implementation of SRO banks on media campaigns, options of alternatives, and administrative penalties. Media campaign will last until 24th August, 2019 while 110,000 alternative material bags will be distributed in various ministries and at general public bazaars. Administrative penalties will be imposed by the district administration (ICT) and EPA. SRO provides a penalty of Rs. 100,000/- to Rs. 500,000/- for manufacturer/whole sellers, Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 50,000/- for shop keepers and Rs 5000/- for other individuals involved. Meeting was attended by Secretary Climate Change Mr. Hassan Nasir and Joint Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Mr. Hameed Shamimi and Mr. Hamza Shafqat Deputy Commissioner Islamabad.