ISLAMABAD    -   Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Hammad Shamimi said that the Ministry had demarcated the Islamabad Capital Territory into 4 zones with 4 teams to monitor the ban imposed on polythene or plastic bags.

“Each team includes an assistant commissioner, one member each from the ministry, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad who are presently working on mass awareness of shopkeepers and general public to shun the use of plastic bags,” he added.

“No plastic is biodegradable. We have found some plastic bags producers and international companies misguiding the masses by calling their products biodegradable, environment friendly and decomposable which is completely misleading,” Shamimi noted. He said that the ban imposed on plastic bags was not devised in closed doors rather it involved 8 months long deliberations with plastic bags manufacturers, recycling association members, scientists, environmentalists and media.

“The policy framework has been completed with major consensus and consultations with all relevant stakeholders. The propaganda being hatched out that plastic or polythene added with some heavy reactive metals could make it degradable which in real sense reduces it to small shreds and got consumed by fish, animals and comes back into human bodies causing cancer. It is not possible to collect it,” Shamimi said.

The statutory regulatory order approved to ban polythene bags allowed cotton, jute and biodegradable bags other than biodegradable. “We have announced to ban plastic bags in ICT around two and half months before the deadline of August 14 which was sufficient time for plastic bags manufacturers to produce biodegradable bags,” he added.

The Adviser and Minister of State for Climate Change had also announced in different press conferences to disallow plastic bags in the federal capital.

The lethargic conduct of the general public which was creating a small obstruction to implement the ban, the Joint Secretary said.

The fine, he said imposed on violation was not introduced to fill national exchequer with money rather to create a sense of responsibility among the masses to abide the law.      

In Kenya, he informed that there had been biodegradable bags made from various natural weeds and shrubs which were completely Eco-friendly and zero harmful.

There had been a fine of US$ 4,000 in Kenya on breaching the prohibition of plastic bags which was a very huge amount. 

“The team has confiscated around 70 to 80 kilograms plastic bags on Tuesday from various outlets and shops making it to a total of around 240 kg till date in various inspection visits across ICT,” he added.