Islamabad: Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul recently stated that the government would continue to pursue its drive against plastic bags usage in Islamabad, a news source reported. She added that the operation in the capital city was a test case – expected to be extended to other parts of the country – and that there was a need to work on behavioural change in relation to use of plastic.
Gul was addressing a seminar, titled ‘Ban on Plastic Bags’, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). She said that preventing the use of plastic bags was a necessary step if Pakistan wanted to address its environmental concerns. She added that they needed to introduce alternatives to plastic bags like cloth bags and wooden baskets, which was a practice of our ancestors for a long time.
The minister said that the government had conditionally allowed companies to use plastic bottles, but they had been directed to share their recycling plans. Gul stressed that parts of the country where the ban was still to be imposed, people here should at least change their mind-set and behaviour towards using plastic.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat informed the audience that an implementation plan was now available since the plastic ban initiated on August 14. He said that 50% to 60% of the commercial market had cooperated with them in regards to the ban.
The DC added that the government had divided the capital city into seven zones to monitor the sale and use of plastic bags. He said that the people would have the change to buy bags made out of other materials so that the number of already circulating plastic bags could be reduced. He states that this would also ensure that the public was not only dependent on bags donated by the government.
Shafqaat opined that the government and the public were capable of overcoming this challenge. He hoped that with the help of an extensive awareness campaign and cooperation of the public and vendors, the could try to eradicate plastic bag usage in Islamabad within the next 45 days.