LAHORE: Justice Jawad Hassan of the Lahore High Court on Thursday (today) will take up a petition challenging legality of section 3 of the Punjab Prohibition of Manufacture, Use, Sale and Import of Polythene Bags Ordinance 2002, which allows polythene bags below 15 microns thickness.

A lawyer, Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, challenged the law through a public interest petition, pleading that the impugned section contravened and violated rights to life and dignity guaranteed under articles 9 & 14 of the Constitution, respectively.

He contended that the matter basically pertained to harmful effects on human health and environment caused by the use of polythene bags and Styrofoam products (plastic straws, cups, spoons, plates, food trays and other disposable material).

He pointed out that polythene bags and Styrofoam products were single-use plastics which took thousands of years to decompose and had been damaging sewerage systems, spreading epidemics, polluting soil, causing water pollution and endangering aquatic life.

The petitioner argued that the use of 15 microns thickness plastic bags was an environmental disaster.

Even in third world countries minimum thickness allowed was 50 microns (which was relatively less hazardous for environment).

The petitioner asked the court to issue directions to the provincial government to enact a new law completely banning manufacturing, use, sale, storage, import and marketing of polythene bags and Styrofoam products, in particular single-use plastics.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2019

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