Ban On Plastic Bags; A Positive Move In Punjab
Punjab being a densely populated province makes the most use of the polythene bags. According to environmental agencies, the polythene bags are found to have been a cause of eminent environmental hazards. Such plastic bags are known to contribute to damage of the sewerage system, spread of diseases, water and soil pollution, and associated health hazards in rural and urban areas of Punjab. Considering such hazards, a ban on plastic bags in Punjab is deemed to be a positive move by the environmental and legal authorities.
The departmental stores, malls and shopping centers, restaurants, pharmacies, and bakeries have been commanded to stop selling commodities in plastic bags, rather paper or cloth bags are used for selling items. The latter are considered as environment-friendly.
Environmental Protection Agency has been entrusted the task of ensuring that different commercial centres of Punjab comply to the non-usage of plastic bags in sale and purchase of commodities. The environmental protection ordinance calls for levying a fine on production and sale of polythene bags less than thickness of 15 microns. However, it is permissible to use polythene bags thicker than 15 microns.
The above-mentioned effort is considered as praiseworthy majorly because polythene bags are toxic for the human system thereby paving way to severe diseases. In addition, polyethylene raw material being non-biodegradable in nature poses an undesirable impact for environment for an extended period as it emits dioxins and furans, which are toxic chemical substances to breathe. Also, polyethylene material takes thousands of years to decompose and hence, it leads to environmental hazard.
The plastic bags had been highly preferred due to their favorable attributes such as being light weight, durable, offering convenience in packaging and being free of cost for the end consumer while shopping products. However, a reckless and unethical disposal of plastic bags add to environmental menace by blocking sewerage system and paving way to numerous diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhea and contamination of drinking water. Such diseases are largely pervasive in the urban areas of Pakistan where plastic bags are used excessively. Therefore, it is plausible to note that placing a ban on the usage of plastic bags in Punjab is equivalent to minimizing harmful diseases.
Furthermore, awareness campaigns are being launched to replace plastic bags with paper and fabric bags in different cities of Punjab. Any violation by the commercial units is likely to proceed with an action by the teams, which are likely to impose a fine and confiscate products. Recently, a few manufacturing units in Rawalpindi producing polythene bags have been sealed considering their environmental damage. This is a positive move by and large.
It is indeed binding upon the environmental teams and pressure groups to aid the government in following the legal orders to place a ban on the usage of polythene bags in commercial units selling food and non-food items. Such a compliance with orders of legal and environmental agencies can safeguard the environment from damage created by the plastic or polythene bags. This will eventually create a safe and healthy ecosystem to dwell in.