LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday extended the ban on manufacturing, sale and use of polythene/plastic bags in Gujranwala and Faisalabad.

Initially, the court had banned the plastic bags in the provincial metropolis.

During hearing of a public interest petition, Justice Shahid Karim ordered the director general of the Environment Protection Agency to also implement the ban in Gujranwala and Faisalabad. The judge directed the agency to take stern action against the violators and submit a compliance report on the next hearing.

The petition stated plastic products caused harmful effects on human health and environment by the use of polythene bags and styrofoam products (plastic straws, cups, spoons, plates, food trays and other related disposable material).

It said polythene bags and styrofoam products were single use plastics which took thousands of years to decompose and they had been causing havoc in various areas of Punjab and were damaging the sewerage system of cities, spreading epidemics, polluting soil, causing water pollution and endangering aquatic life.

The petition submitted that the use of 15 microns thickness was an environmental disaster, even in third world countries the minimum thickness allowed was 50 microns (which was relatively less hazardous for the environment). It sought a complete ban on manufacturing, use, sale, storage, import and marketing of polythene bags and styrofoam products in the whole province.

In a related matter, the judge asked the vice chairman of the Lahore Development Authority to go through a report filed by a water commission and assist the court on the next hearing.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020