Besides shopkeepers, public to be fined flouting plastic bags ban

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A joint enforcement team comprising Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Ministry of Climate Change and Islamabad Capital Territory Administration Tuesday fined Rs25,000 to the shopkeepers flouting plastic bags ban, strictly reimposed by the government by March 1.

It also impounded 100 kilogrammes plastic bags besides sealing a shop selling polythene bags during inspection in Bhara Kahu and G-9 Markaz (Karachi Company), said the Pak-EPA in a tweet.

An official of the ministry told APP that the plastic bags were the major source of serious environmental pollution equally damaging human health, wildlife and biodiversity.

The plastic or polythene single-use bags were one of the key factors of urban flooding in Karachi and many other urban mega centers, he added.

He said the ministry had devised a special legislation on the issue after proper consultation with the plastic bags manufacturers associations, traders, business community, academia, experts and also alternate bags manufacturing partners.

The ban was imposed on August 14, 2019 but its enforcement faced a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic leaving the masses complacent to abide by the restriction imposed in the federal capital, he added.

However, he said this time it was a strict drive being launched to make the masses adhere to plastic bags ban as earlier only the shopkeepers violating the ban were fined whereas now the general public found carrying plastic bags would be charged Rs5,000 fine.

The shopkeepers violating the ban would be fined Rs10,000 and Rs100,000 to the manufacturers and retailers of plastic bags whereas the penalty would be doubled in case of repeated violation along with confiscation of plastic bags and closure of the property, he added.

Joint secretary of the ministry Syed Mujtaba Hussain said since the enforcement teams had visited the markets for ensuring all-out enforcement of the ban on polythene bags since March 1, polythene bags weighing hundreds of kilogrammes had confiscated from shops and fines to the tune of thousands of rupees imposed during the polythene enforcement bags ban enforcement activities over last two days in the capital city’s bustling markets Aabpara market and G-9 Markaz.—APP