After Islamabad, Punjab government on the way to ban plastic bags in the province, while Sindh government has also announced plans to make the province a plastic bag-free by October 2019. There is no doubt that the ban is a positive move and no amount of pressure from the business community should deter the state from protecting citizens and the earth from the catastrophe that awaits us if we do not change our course now. This is a good step and people should realize that how dangerous these bags are for our health.
The plastic bag manufacturers have voiced one genuine concern regarding the future of the many workers employed in the industry – a ban would likely render some unemployed. However, this will only be the case if firm owners do not adapt to the changing reality, which they must do if they want to keep their businesses and profits protected. This ban is not going to shut down industry – bans of this sort never do. They just force owners to invest a little extra and adapt machinery and in this case, raw material for plastic bags can be repurposed for other commodities as well. For the manufacturers to claim that the ban will result in a complete shutdown is absolute nonsense.
According to a latest United Nations report, some 127 countries had already implemented some type of policy regulating plastic bags, but not before they had wreaked havoc on the planet in a number of ways. Whereas, Pakistan has become 128th country in the world to ban use of plastic bags. These global efforts for curbing plastic pollution were aimed at reducing the harm that plastic does to marine ecosystems and wildlife. The amount of plastic in the ocean could triple in the next decade. The studies also showed that most bags wind up languishing in landfills, where they can remain for up to 1,000 years. Some make their way into the ocean. Another type of single-use plastic, straws, is also being phased out in some places.
Affecting humans, besides killing the wild and marine life throughout the world, as research conducted, these plastic bags do not readily break down in the environment, requiring 20 to 1,000 years to decompose. Data collected by the ministry of climate change shows that the use of plastic bags is rising at the rate of 15 percent annually, and as a local media house had recently reported, as many as 12 million plastic bags were used in Pakistan between 1990 and 1991 and this consumption had surged to 43 billion in 2005 and up to 55 billion in 2007. The backlash against use of hazardous plastic bags had gained immense momentum worldwide a few years ago.
The amount of plastic in the ocean could triple in the next decade. The studies also showed that most bags wind up languishing in landfills, where they can remain for up to 1,000 years.