ISLAMABAD-State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Wednesday said that the government was determined to continue anti-plastic bags drive in the federal capital. Addressing a news conference here, she said that the ban on use of plastic bags would be implemented with the cooperation of the people including the civil society and the food chains and shopkeepers. She said that single-use plastic bags had been banned in Islamabad from August 14. She said that according to a survey, about two million people in Islamabad used 3 to 4 bags daily, which, she said, was alarming for the environment. She said that Islamabad administration and officials of the ministry of climate change were not acting on personal capacity but they had been fully authorised to ensure implementation of the ban on the plastic bags. The minister said that a letter had been written to all stakeholders for strict implementation of the govt’s move to ban polythene bags, before issuing the SRO to this effect. She regretted an incident that took place in Islamabad on Tuesday when a team comprising officials of the ministry of climate change were manhandled by the staffers of a food chain which was using plastic bags despite ban on it. She said that the officials of ministry of climate change were not pursuing their personal interests, but they were asked to implement the SRO without fear or favour. She said that the ministry had presented two proposals before the federal cabinet on Tuesday and that the Prime Minster had appreciated the ministry ideas and accepted both proposals. She said that the ministry of climate change was going to launch its channel with collaboration of ministry of Information and Broadcasting to educate the people and farmers about Climate Change.

Zartaj said that the second proposal was to launch nationwide programme to provide solar stoves to the residents of far-flung areas of the country for protection of trees. She said that it was the government’s responsibility to stop cutting trees in different areas of the country.

The minister said that Pakistan will be made plastic-free as the ban on plastic bags in the federal capital had turned into a countrywide campaign. She said that provinces were also showing the intention and commitment to make their districts plastic-free.

She said that the Punjab government had also endorsed the federal government’s decision regarding ban on plastic bags and it was ready to ban the same in different cities of the province. She said that chief minister Punjab Sardar Usam Buzdar had shown interest to ban polythene bags in the province and a decision on this will be taken in next provincial cabinet meeting.