Pakistan is a country with not a lot of Plan Bs. Lets face it, we barely even manage to get our Plan As completed. Therefore, every decision taken which affects the entire nation must have to be thought out well and a plan B should always be in the works so that the people have an alternate option. This is the case with the ban on plastic bags. Although, a very noble initiative, it has left the shopkeepers around the country with no alternative.
The ban on plastic bags was placed by the Islamabad by a cabinet decision on August 14. This would be a slow and gradual process and has already started with the wholesalers of plastic bags being targeted first to cut off the supply. However, shopkeepers and vendors have raised the point that if not plastic bags than what? Biodegradable bags are not available in abundance as of yet and thus there seems to be no alternative to the ban right now. An official from the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad mentioned the progress of the ban.
We had two stalls at the market dealing exclusively with plastic bags, but we closed them today. Gradually, in the next phase, we will start action against stallholders who are using plastic bags
There is no denying that the use of plastic bags is a great problem affecting the environment but the government needs to simultaneously work on a plan which would provide reasonable alternatives to the shopkeepers. Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Director General Farzana Altaf said four teams are in the process of implementing the ban and have recovered upto two tons of plastic bags.
“Our fight will continue until the last bag. No one will be allowed to commit environmental crime, as the use of plastic bags is an environmental crime,If we can keep a mobile phone in our hands, why not a small fabric bag while shopping.”