Proposal to ban polythene bags rejected


The Capital Administration and Development Division (CAAD) have rejected a summary moved by the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) to ban the manufacturing and use of non-degradable polythene bags, which are flourishing in Islamabad.
The CADD was of the opinion that the EPA already had an Environment Protection Act, with sufficient clauses to prohibit the business, and the only need was of proper implementation. On the other hand, the concerned authorities are planning to introduce bio-degradable polythene bags, which are environment-friendly and easy to be disposed of. Because of the inadequate action by the EPA against their manufactures and an absence of cost-effective environment-friendly alternatives, polythene bags are being produced and used in the twin cities despite a ban.
An official in EPA told Pakistan Today, “The polythene bags cause environmental pollution if solid waste containing these bags is not collected and disposed of properly; that is why, we were planning to promote the use of bio-degradable polythene bags.”
He said used plastic bags chocked drainage system and created an unaesthetic view of environment. “The practice of burning them produces dioxins and furans, which are persistent organic pollutants and extremely harmful to human and animal health.”
“The usages of these bags not only affect survival of marine life, but also block the drains causing problems in flow of sewage,” he said.
According to experts, majority of the lightweight polythene bags do not reach landfill sites for disposal. Instead, they go airborne and are caught in fences and trees. They also provide breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread diseases likes dengue, malaria and others vector ailments.
Though the Ministry of Environment had banned sale, manufacture and usage of these light polythene bags, it failed to implement the directives.
“Environmental pollution is a growing concern not only in Pakistan, but also in the whole world. Without tougher legislation and proper consultation from all the stakeholders, it will be very difficult for the government to attain any success in its fight against polythene,” said Shakil Ahmed, an expert on environmental issues.
He said the alarming thing was that the government had failed to stop its use even in the Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
According to Shakil, the polythene bags buried at landfill sites may take up to 1,000 years to decompose and in the process they separated into smaller and smaller toxic particles that contaminate the soil and water.
Earlier, alternatives to polythene bags, like paper and cloth, were introduced into the markets, but they did not receive a good response. However, statements from environment managers reveal that the manufacturers opposed the ban on polythene bags as it would affect jobs of thousands of people, associated with the industry.


  1. A country where duffers rule, cannot be expected to adopt sane policies. These corrupt ruling elite only look after their personal interests. Not that of masses. Forget environment…

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