The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently initiated action against violators of the ban on plastic bags in Islamabad’s rural areas. Plastic bags pose a serious hazard to marine life and the environment as well as to human health due to the fact that plastic can take up to 2,000 years to completely decompose. Plastic bags annually kill about 100,000 sea animals that mistake them for food, pollute our oceans, and block drainage systems which had partially caused the Bangladesh floods twenty years ago. Studies have also shown that meals eaten or heated in plastic bags cause ulcers, asthma, obesity and certain types of cancer. Alarmingly, the oceans are projected to contain more waste plastic than fish by the year 2050.
Concrete steps are essential, therefore, to eliminate the use of plastic bags. Firstly, people must be urged to either decline plastic bags and simply hand-carry items out of stores or take reusable shopping and produce bags with them when they go shopping. It may take a little time for them to get in the habit of doing so — but there is no easier way to cut down on plastic bag use. Secondly, recycling must be encouraged to effectively address the problem. Last month, the Ministry of Climate Change had announced plans to recycle bags seized from ban violators and turn them into more than 1,000 garbage bins and dumpsters which would be placed in the federal capital’s schools, hospitals and other government institutions. This is a great plan and we certainly hope the ministry not only executes it as planned but also expands all anti plastic bag measures countrywide. Thirdly, it is vital that a nationwide media awareness campaign be launched to convey to the public the importance of implementing the above-mentioned measures.
These easy and economical steps can make a world of difference for our planet’s well-being.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2020.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ