Peshawar: As a first step to stop use, sale and manufacturing of the hazardous plastic shopping bags, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to impose complete ban on the black-colour polythene shopping bags and comprehensive, strict and effective laws to cover all aspects of use and manufacturing of non-biodegradable plastic bags, food containers, bottles and such other hazardous products.
This decision was taken at a meeting held at CM Secretariat here Monday with the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak in the chair. Expressing his resolve to get rid of the menace of hazardous shopping bags the Chief Minister said that no compromise will be accepted to ban the use as well as manufacturing of the shopping bags which had been declared dangerous for human health and the sanitation system.
He added that even difficult decisions would not be avoided to stop the manufacturing, sale and use of such bags and directed the authorities concerned to take necessary measures including the desirable legislation to effectively deal with menace of unsafe and harmful shopping bags.
During the meeting report of the special committee, constituted by the Chief Minister last month under chairmanship of MPA Shaukat Ali Yusafzai, was presented which highlighted all aspects of the shopping bags’ issue and suggested measures to address the problem. It worth mentioning that the Chief Minister had formed the committee to chalk out detailed strategy to impose ban on polythene bags, and explore ways and means for introducing feasible, economical and acceptable alternative for the plastic shopping bags.
Besides other the meeting was attended by members of the special committee including its head Shaukat Ali Yousafzai MPA, Secretaries of Local Government, Environment and Industry department, Director General Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chief Executive WSSP, Chairman of the Chief Minister Complaint Cell, Commissioner Peshawar and representatives of the traders.
The participants turned the use of black colour shopping bags the most dangerous for human health as well as sanitation system of the province and it was decided that in the first phase complete ban will be imposed on manufacturing, sale and use of the black shopping bags however three months time will be given to the traders, retailers as well as the factory owners for disposal of existing stock of black polythene bags and the hazardous raw material used in making of such bags.
It was decided that in future manufacturing of only biodegradable polythene bags, bearing thickness of at least 30 micron, will be allowed. It was also decided to register manufacturers, traders and retailers of plastic shopping bags with concerned local councils in a bid to regulate this business and proper regulations regarding manufacturing and marketing of safe plastic shopping bags will be formulated and the EPA will be strengthened to check the plastic bags and other food packing materials.
Referring to anticipated difficulties in implementation of ban on plastic bags, the Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said that despite all difficulties the provincial government was fully committed to solve the problem and every decision taken on this issue will be implemented in latter and spirit adding that no compromise would be accepted for implementing the decisions taken in larger public interest. He directed the concerned authorities to take necessary measures for making legislation to stop use and manufacturing of hazardous shopping bags.
Responding to the apprehension that the ban on shopping bags might affect its exports to Afghanistan, the Chief Minister said that the provincial government was fully committed to save the health of the people of the province and to achieve this purpose it was a must to take every decision in the interest of the common people only without bothering for the interests of those who do not bother for the safety of the masses.
The Chief Minister on this occasion also issued directives for accelerating the pace of work on the projects being executed for development and beautification of the provincial capital city.
He also appointed the MPA Shaukat Yousafzai as focal person for these projects and asked the authorities concerned to expedite the pace of work over construction of service road along the ring road, widening of the University road, reconstruction of general bus stand and provision of civic facilities on the land retrieved by anti encroachment operation in interior city of Peshawar.