LAHORE The Punjab government is working on plan to raise prices of polythene bags in a bid to fizzle out prevalent culture of giving free polythene bags to customers in markets at the time of shopping which are posing a permanent threat to the human health and environment at large. Law prohibits use of black polythene bags and thin polythene bags, which is below 15 microns in thickness. Black polyethylene bags (plastic bags) despite ban are being used in Punjab. The thickness of polythene bags will be raised up to 30 micron, which will shoot up its prices and the shopkeepers will stop distributing it free of cost to customers who come for shopping. Punjab government is working to amend the 'Punjab Prohibition on manufacture, sale, use and import of polythene bags (black or any other polythene bag below fifteen micron thickness) ordinance 2002. Recycling of black polythene bag reduces the quality of the plastic and these coloured plastic bags become toxic. Any make food or other things turn toxic when used as people do in city life to carry food from restaurants and shopping Malls. Law says no person shall manufacture, sell, use or import black polythene bags or any polythene bag below fifteen micron thickness or offer any kind of eatable and non-eatable goods in any black polythene bag or any polythene bag below fifteen micron thickness. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 3, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to Rs.50, 000 or with both. Sources said the free supply of polythene bags to customers by shopkeepers has played havoc to the environment. It has been learnt that use of black colored polyethylene bags is banned in the province but people are still using the black polyethylene bags. Under the plan weight, thickness and cost of the polythene bags will be increased significantly to force majority of the customers to bring cloth made bags with for shopping. Besides black polythene bags which are banned under a law are still being used in the markets and no let-up has been noticed in the trend or culture of using polythene bags by customers or shopkeepers despite the legislation on polythene bags. The sources in Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD) revealed that black polythene bags are still being used despite a number of challans of shopkeepers. Sources said up till now Rs 50,000 fine has not been imposed on any violator shopkeeper or manufacturers but a number of cases have filed in the courts of environment magistrates which are still pending. EPD Director General (DG) Dr Shahgufta Shahjehan told The Nation the plan is under consideration to the amend the Polythene Bags Ordinance and increases weight and cost of the polythene bags. She said thin polythene bags of either colour stop waterways sewerage line and scatter in the air having the capacity to fly due to low thinness. She said the polythene bags being non-biodegradable remain in the environment for centuries. She admitted that black polythene bags are still being used despite the fact that 200 challans have been filed against violators in the courts of environment magistrate. Polyethylene bags are real foes of civilised world and once produced they survive for thousands of years and harbor infectious germs only for spreading fatal diseases.