In the wake of the recent ban placed on polyethene bag usage in Pakistan, cities and organizations are slowly hopping on board – however, reluctantly. The ban was officially placed on August 14th 2019 in Islamabad with fines placed on those continuing the practice thereafter.
Heavy dependence on plastic bag industry
A survey report of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) reveals that as many as 55 billion plastic bags are used annually in Pakistan. Moreover, their usage is increasing 15 percent annually.
The report further stated that there are over eight thousand plastic bag manufacturing units in Pakistan. The average daily production capability of these units ranges between 250kg and 500 kg. The industry in question has been generating direct employment opportunities for 0.2 million people while indirect jobs are reaching 0.6 million people.
The canvas bags distribution initiative was undertaken by DC Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat and Head of Branchless Banking JS Bank Noman Azhar alongside their respective teams. Noman Azhar said while hailing the ban on plastic bags, “as a responsible institution, JS Bank wants to make a measurable difference in raising awareness to avoid the use of plastic for the sake of the environment and provide an alternative option to the general public.”
Hamza Shafqaat said, “It is hard to get the general population to forgo plastic bags in Pakistan which contributes to ever growing waste problem. This initiative by JS Bank is an effective way to raise awareness among the masses and will help fight environmental pollution”
A normal plastic bag takes 400 to 1,000 years to degenerate and almost every piece of plastic ever produced still exists in some form in our environment. The amount of plastic waste has been increasing by 15% each year for the past 20 years, and its accumulation poses grave threats to the well-being of all people worldwide – specially the marine life.