Punjab government has finalised the draft bill for imposing a complete ban on the use of plastic bags in the province, which would be presented in the cabinet for approval soon.
The draft bill, after passing through various government departments, bodies, committees and sub committees and other stakeholders, was in its final shape to be presented to the provincial cabinet for approval.
An Environment Protection Department (EPD) official said on Sunday that though the draft bill had been formulated, the procedural formalities and legal consultation took time to give it the final shape. He further said that after getting approval from the cabinet, it would be presented in the provincial assembly to get it passed.
At present, the Plastic bag Act 2002 was in place which allows manufacturing of 15 micron plastic bag only and a complete ban on black polythene bags.
He stated, “Since more than 8,000 small and big manufacturing units were attached with the plastic bag industry, the government did not want to create hurdles in their businesses. Therefore, it devised a phase wise plan to impose complete ban on its manufacturing and supply in the market.”
In the first six months after the imposition of the law, only 50 micron size plastic bag would be allowed to be manufactured, he highlighted.
“After six months period, a complete ban will be applied on the manufacturing so that people attached with the industry could make alternative arrangements to keep their businesses running. Initially, environment inspectors were only authorised to inspect the quality and permitted standard of plastic bags but there are limited number of inspectors in the EPD and they were unable to do the job efficiently.”
To provide support to them, the city district governments were made part of the job to check the law compliance within their areas, he elaborated.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2021.