PESHAWAR/LANDI KOTAL: The authorities have launched drive against use of polythene bags across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and district administration in several districts of the province sealed several factories and outlets.

The action is being taken in the light of chief minister’s directives to seal all those outlets that are not making biodegradable polythene bags. Earlier on Friday, the provincial cabinet decided to completely ban the use of plastic in the province within next two weeks.

A statement issued here said that following the chief minister directives, district authorities started extensive crackdown throughout the province. It said that two plastic bag manufacturing factories were sealed in Town-111 area of Peshawar and three factories were sealed in industrial area of Hayatabad whereas all wholesaler and retailer shops of polythene bags were closed in the provincial capital.

Khyber declared first plastic bags-free tribal district

It said that wholesale and retail shops of polythene bags were shut down in Swat, Kohat, Charsadda and Malakand district whereas Khyber tribal district was declared polythene-free.

It said that biodegradable bags were being made available as part of the drive. Similarly, three plastic bags manufacturing factories were sealed in Abbottabad and a total of 500 kg bags were confiscated. It said that all tourist spots in the province were declared polythene-free. The drive will be carried out for the coming weeks on which a detailed briefing will also be given to the chief minister.

A statement issued from the deputy commissioner Peshawar office said that besides sealing the factories, authorities also confiscated several thousand kilograms of plastic during the raids across the city.

Meanwhile, the district administration has declared Khyber as the first polythene bags-free tribal district after it issued final three days warning to local shopkeepers and traders to either dispose of their remaining stock or surrender it to the administration. The district administration said in a statement that use of polythene bags ended completely in Khyber and anyone found violating the ban on it would be dealt with according to law.

Deputy Commissioner Mehmud Aslam Wazir issued directives to three assistant commissioners in Bara, Jamrud and Landi Kotal to strictly impose the ban. He also appealed to people to wipe out completely polythene bags from Khyber.

The administration arrested several shopkeepers and polythene bag dealers during the raids alongside seizing large quantity of the bags. The district administration has also asked the district police officer to help in controlling the use of polythene bags and take stern action against those, who are violating the ban.

The administration claimed to have so far distributed over 100,000 biodegradable bags among the local shopkeepers and traders to discourage use of polythene bags. Shopkeepers, however, said that although they favoured use of environment-friendly shopping bags, yet they would require some more time to get rid of the pending stock of polythene bags. They demanded and extension in the three-day deadline.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2019