ISLAMABAD: A large quantity of polythene bags and raw material were confiscated during a raid on a polythene bag manufacturing factory in a remote rural locality of Tarnol.

“A fine of Rs100,000 was imposed on its owner,” revealed Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

She said the raid was conducted jointly by a team comprising officials of the climate change ministry, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and the area police.

“While efforts have been beefed up for stricter enforcement of ban on use, sale and manufacturing of polythene bags in the capital city and surrounding areas since March 1, 2021, no one is being spared and fined when found violating the ban,” she said, adding that the ban enforcement teams were now regularly visiting market places, stores, malls, other public places and manufacturing sites in the capital for stern action and monitoring of implementation of the ban on polythene bags.

“Not only customers but also shopkeepers, sellers and manufacturers of the environmentally-damaging polythene bags are being fined during the raids and warned to stop use, sale and manufacturing of polythene bags or face punitive action in a more stringent way if caught again in possession of the banned polythene bags,” she said.

Lauding the role of enforcement teams, she added that without their untiring efforts, enforcement of the ban could not have been possible.

“It is encouraging to see enforcement teams ensuring implementation of the law in all forms and manifestations,” she said, urging people to cooperate with enforcement teams and ensure that neighbourhoods and businesses were free from the menace of polythene bags that damaged both the environment along with the health of humans and animals.

She said all relevant government organisations have been directed to remain vigilant and fine anyone found in possession of polythene bags.

Syed Mujtaba Hussain, who is leading the enforcement drive, said under the ongoing campaign against use of polythene bags, wholesalers are being fined up to Rs100,000, shopkeepers Rs10,000 and consumers up to Rs5,000 for first-time violations. The fine increases with repeated violations, he added.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Islamabad (East) Babar Sahib Din said the ICT administration was committed to the climate change ministry’s efforts for making Islamabad free from polythene bags and would continue to support efforts that lead towards the benefit of public health and the environment.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2021

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