LAHORE      -    Plastic Bags Association has expressed concerns over overnight blanket ban on polyethylene bags instead of going towards regulation for sustainable environment protection.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Friday, office-bearers of the association and representatives said that ban would lead to closure of 8000 factories that would ultimately render millions of people unemployed.

Flanked by LCCI President Almas Hyder, Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal, officer bearers including Jehanzeb Jilani, Faisal Malik, Aleem Ahmad, Faisal Qadri and Moazzam Rasheed said that plastic bags sector was among top five revenue generating sectors of Pakistan. “It is also backbone of small & medium enterprises (SMEs) and cottage industry”, they said, adding the association has its own research & development and standing committee on environment which has given suggestions and roadmap to the government for the legislation. They appealed Ministry of Climate Changes and Environment Protection Departments to have constructive meetings with the association and mutually form a sustainable policy on this environmental issue. They said that recent issue of environment was actually a failure of waste management companies. Plastic Bags Association has discussed and submitted all the applicable solutions to government to address the environmental issues.

“Plastic bags association has advised minimum 45 micron thickness and size 12x”15” that can be easily re-used, collected and recycled. This suggestion was accepted by technical and legal teams of the government”, they added.

“Polyethylene is FDA approved product. Countries like USA, Europe, Australia, Canada etc have not banned plastic bags but have regulated like our association has suggested”, they said.

They said that 10 countries have banned less than 30 micron single use shopping bags, 15 countries have banned less than 50 micron single use shopping bags while no country in the world, except Kenya, has banned the shopping bags and that has damaged the economy of Kenya in terms of revenue, un-employment and closure of factories. Since Kenya has abundant jungles, therefore they can afford paper bags.

For sustainable and green environment, they said, the government should take other measures instead of complete ban on plastic bags.