Manufacturers suggest regulation, not ban on plastic bags

Updated August 24, 2019

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Polyethylene is a Food and Drug Approved product all around the world. — Dawn/File
Polyethylene is a Food and Drug Approved product all around the world. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: Expressing concern over the government’s decision to impose a blanket ban on polyethylene bags instead of making regulations for sustainable environment protection, plastic bags manufacturers urged the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment Protection Department on Friday to hold constructive meetings with its office-bearers to finalise a mutually formalised sustainable policy on this environmental issue.

“Over 8,000 factories of plastic bags are providing direct or indirect employment to millions of people in the country. This sector is also among the top five revenue-generating sectors of Pakistan and is the backbone of small and medium enterprises and cottage industry. But, an overnight blanket ban on this sector has disturbed hundreds of thousands of families associated with this sector directly or indirectly for long. We want the government to meet us and take a decision that wouldn’t affect millions of workers,” said Jehanzeb Jilani, the association’s chief, while speaking at a press conference here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Flanked by LCCI President Almas Hyder, Vice President Faheemur Rehman Saigal and others, he said the association had its own research and development and standing committees on environment that offered suitable suggestions and roadmap to the government for legislation.

He said the environmental hazards posed by plastic bags were actually a failure of waste management companies. The association has submitted all the applicable solutions to the government to address these issues.

“We have advised a minimum of 45 micron thickness and 12” x 15” size that can be easily re-used, collected and recycled, which was accepted by the technical and legal teams of the Punjab government. However, from the recent press conference of the honourable federal minister for climate change, it seems she is unaware of this,” he clarified.

Polyethylene is Food and Drug Approved product all around the world. Countries like the US, Australia, Canada and Europe etc have not banned plastic bags, but regulated them, as suggested by the bags manufacturing association.

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2019