Plastic bag stakeholders staged a protest in Lahore against the complete ban of plastic manufacturing in Pakistan by the government. The decision has been taken as a strategy to counter the threat to the Pakistani environment due to climate change and the government must not give in to the pressure of these stakeholders as the presence of plastic in our environment in any form is harmful. Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan must be commended for this decision as climate change was also a highlight in his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

However, there is a need to improve the consequences of this decision, which can be done by regulating the plastic industry in Pakistan. A number of people will lose their jobs and their businesses because the government is not providing an alternative. Those out on the streets demanding a cohesive strategy from the government are well within their rights because it is the job of the government to safeguard employment and provide alternatives in case there is a shift in the policy. The government needs to realise that the people of Pakistan need to retain their businesses in order for the government to generate revenue and for the business cycle to continue.

The solution does not lie in the reversal of this monumental decision in a country like Pakistan, where the carbon footprint itself is the bare minimum. The government can instead offer subsidies to people to switch to alternate products or the government itself can establish employment opportunities for workers so that they are not unemployed. This unemployment adds to the debt cycle and increases the chances of crime on the streets as well. Stakeholders need to be brought on board in every situation where the government plans a radical action. This again is an opportunity for the government to maximise the benefits from a decision by including stakeholders in the process.