PESHAWAR, Sept 20: The Local Government and Rural Development (LG&RD) Department has decided to take steps for encouraging use of reusable shopping bags by consumers in big cities in order to gradually get rid of polythene bags, which are environmentally hazardous and cause blockades of sewerage lines.
“Once polythene bags disappear from the roads, streets, dumping spots and drains, 70 per cent of the sanitation problems will be solved,” said a senior official of the LG department.
He said that one of the areas of the city would be declared free of polythene bags on completion of the ongoing cleanliness drive “neat and clean Peshawar” by end of September. The campaign has been launched with the support of civil society organisations.
Initially, the consumers in a selected area of Peshawar would be sensitised to the negative consequences of using polythene bags through advocacy and awareness, a senior official told Dawn.
“Door-to-door sensitisation campaign will be launched in the area declared polythene bags-free with the support of the sanitation staff, government departments and CSOs,” he said.
Banners carrying slogans about the negative impacts of polythene bags would be displayed in a large number to convince the consumers on abandoning use of polythene bags for shopping.
All shopkeepers in the selected area would be directed to avoid keeping polythene bags, rather they would be encouraged to participate in the campaign to ask customers to bring fabric bags while coming to buy something, the senior official said.
After successful implementation of the plan in one area, it would be gradually extended to other areas with perpetual persuasion, he said. Once the habit of using fabric bag is developed among people, then they would not use the polythene bags and their children would definitely follow them in future that would get rid the society from this environmental hazardous entity, he said.
The official said that on the conclusion of the campaign and persuasion, the people if found using the polythene bags might face punishment.
He said that the department also intended to make lobbying for proper legislation for curbing the use of polythene bags.
Since the new government has assumed power, officials in the local government department have put their heads together to solve the issue of cleanliness and improve the sewerage system in big cities of the province.
The officials said that despite growing population in urban areas the heaps of garbage dotting the city couldn’t draw attention of rulers in past who would often take cosmetic measures for improving sanitation system.
They said that the Municipal Corporation, Peshawar, had around 60 per cent garbage lifting capacity that was why the sanitation workers were facing hardships in removing the garbage. They said that the people had come forward in cleanliness drive helping the department physically and financially.
For the ongoing cleanliness drive, Peshawar has been divided into 14 zones, each consisting of three union councils. The sanitation officers of the best cleaned areas would be awarded, said an official.
“The secretary local government has also directed all the tehsil municipal officers across the province to establish proper dumping grounds in their respective areas,” said one of the officials. He said that these dumping grounds would be established within three years.