A notification prohibiting the usage of non-biodegradable plastic and the black oxo-biodegradable plastic products issued by KP’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been challenged by a number of shopkeepers and businessmen of KPMG.
The challenge has been made through a written petition submitted by Haji Deedar Khan. He is leading the protest in Peshawar High Court on behalf of all the concerned shopkeepers and businessmen of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Moreover, the notification challenged by the protestants also states two
Minimum thickness of oxo-biodegradable plastic product should be at least 50 microns.
Goods should be marked as “recycled plastic unsafe for contact with food.”
The EPA didn’t just stop the sale of the banned plastic products but also they revoked all the licenses issued for import and sale of the banned products. The black oxo-biodegradable plastic is only useable for garbage purposes, not for commercial purposes.
“Violation of Fundamental Rights”
Mian Mihibullah Kakakhel, the representative of businessmen and shopkeepers does buy and sell oxo-biodegradable plastic. He voiced his opinion and called EPA’s notification to be a “violation of fundamental rights.”
Kakakhel did argue that in a developing country like Pakistan, it is hard to suddenly shift from products being used so commonly. He opined that in some developing countries it’s impracticable and impossible to stop the sale of products used for commercial purpose, and for several household chores.
“It is tantamount to rendering them jobless, they have to be provided with an alternative before imposing a complete ban.”
The court that comprises of Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Rohul Amin did admit the case for full hearing and has issued notices to respondents including DG KP EPA and Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar.
EPA Not Entirely Wrong
Under Section 7 of K-P Environmental Protection Act 2014’s clause XII, the provincial EPA deptt has the power to ban some activity, work, mobility or transport within some particular area by declaring it to be environmentally sensitive.
However, the power is misuse able if it is not backed by strong evidence. Pollution is taking its toll in Pakistan with floods in summer and smog in winter. The government requires to carry out steps to keep the country clean. But the intense need is there to educate the public and assist them in making the change.