The citizens of the federal capital urged the civic authorities to initiate strict administrative drive against the violators of the ban on plastic bags as polythene bags use has revived since the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Zero Plastic Chief Executive Officer Dr Ansir Rajput said that the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) should pay serious attention towards the enforcement of the plastic bags ban. Despite the urban flood threat, the use of plastic bags was common in the capital's markets and urban centres except for some branded outlets, he regretted.
Dr Rajput said the use of plastic was highly injurious both for human health and the environment. "Plastic bags are one of the main reasons for choking of drains, leading to urban flooding and directly pose a threat to biodiversity, including birdlife, animals and aquatic species," he noted.
It merits mention here that single-use plastic bags have been banned in Islamabad since August 14, 2019. With the implementation of the ban, the citizens saw a coerce enforcement by the civic forces but due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the use of plastic bags has resurrected.
Citizens have shown their discontent regarding this matter as they noted that not only the roadside vendors but large grocery shops have resumed their use.
A resident, Zoya Naeem, when asked said, "I am very disappointed by the pace of this ban being enforced. The world needs every country to play its part to put an end to this environmental catastrophe."
Ali Gul, an environmentalist, showed utter discontent and said, "I wish Pakistan to get plastic-free but this pandemic has spoiled everything as since the outbreak of the contagion, enforcement of the ban remained low."
He further stated that he is happy that the youth is well aware as social media is playing a phenomenal role in this awareness yet a large population of the country is unaware of the drastic effects of plastic bags.
A senior citizen suggested, "The civic bodies should not remain silent over this issue rather come up with some strategy to contain the use of plastic bags. There are reusable cotton and jute bags available in the supply which should be opted by the shopkeepers."
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official said that teams are working every day to enforce the ban and they impose fines as well.
A World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Report of 2019 claimed that every single human being was consuming around 25 grams of plastic per annum, which is equal to the size of a credit card.
The study claims that the plastic bags or containers used as a one-time solution become hazardous on repeated use as the polythene starts dissolving after a certain time period into the food item or beverage kept into it.
The plastic waste dumped into oceans leads to marine life deaths as some species consume the plastic bags and consequently die.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2021.
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