Plastic bags ban

The implementation process should ideally follow a phased-out approach to gradually achieve the stated goal

Editorial June 10, 2024


In a commendable stride towards environmental sustainability, the Punjab government has announced a ban on the production, distribution and trade of plastic bags across the province. Senior Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, speaking at an event in Lahore last week, emphasised the government’s commitment to this policy. But while this is a much-needed initiative, history tells us that similar efforts in other parts of the country, notably Sindh, have faltered. These bans often start with great enthusiasm, only to lose momentum and fade into ineffectiveness over time.

To make a genuine difference, the Punjab government must implement robust measures that guarantee long-term compliance and effectiveness. This will further require the establishment of clear, enforceable regulations with strict penalties for non-compliance, and the launching of continuous public education campaigns to raise awareness about the environmental impact of plastic bags. The implementation process should ideally follow a phased-out approach to gradually achieve the stated goal. This approach involves a step-by-step reduction in the production, distribution and use of plastic bags, allowing businesses and consumers to adapt over time rather than facing an abrupt ban that could cause disruptions. Another effective strategy is to offer incentives for manufacturers who produce biodegradable bags. These subsidies can help offset the initial higher costs of production, making eco-friendly alternatives more competitive with traditional plastic bags.

The environment cannot afford another short-lived initiative. Instead, it demands sustained, collective efforts. By learning from past mistakes and committing to a rigorous implementation scheme, Punjab can set a national example in environmental stewardship, paving the way for a cleaner, greener future across the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2024.

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