The provincial government of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) decision to ban the use, purchase, export and import of plastic bags in Hunza district is excellent news. It was a long overdue step that the GB government has taken. Now the authorities need to enforce the decision of the provincial government strictly. The fact that the government provided 10,000 shopping bags for free distribution tells us that the authorities are serious in implementing the ban on the use of plastic bags.

One cannot but appreciate the initiative of implementing a ban on the use of plastic bags. If one looks around, one can notice that plastic bags are the most common litter in any area. And for a city like Hunza, plastic bags, tanged in trees along roads, floating in the water, surrounding waste bins, dim its scenic beauty. The ban will help in maintaining the cleanliness of the city. While the ban on plastic bags is a great initiative and a step forward in the right direction, the government needs to extend the ban to other plastic disposables, like straws and plastic food container as well.

Plastic contains major toxic pollutants and damages our environment as it causes air, water and land pollution. Scientists widely acknowledge the hazardous effects of plastic on wildlife and the natural ecosystem. Research studies suggest that plastic takes anywhere from hundreds to thousand years to break down into the earth’s structure. Till the time such a bag remains in the environment, it causes harm to our routine life. Saying that plastic is killing us is not an exaggeration.

Imran Khan’s government thinks of environmental degradation a grave issue for Pakistan. Among the many steps that the government needs to take is to launch environmental literacy campaigns across the country so that people understand the hazards of plastic and the value of using re-usable and biodegradable products.