The deputy commission office in Peshawar has issued an executive order for imposing a ban on shopping bags made of polyethene in medical stores and shopping malls situated in Peshawar. The medical stores / Pharmacy and megamalls, in district Peshawar will have to dispose of their stocks within 15 and 7 days respectively.
Paper bags for Medical stores and Megamalls
The order further says that medical store and pharmacy will have to sell their products in paper bags while the mega shopping centre will sell items in biodegradable bags after the expiry of the deadline. This order was issued in the larger public interest because the shopping bags are creating several environmental and health problems which include chocking of the drainage system, poor sanitation, causes pollution, adversely affecting natural environment and water born diseases.
Plastic bags and diseases
It has also been proved scientifically that the use of plastic bags is also unsafe for contact with food and various diseases can be transmitted to human beings through it when the food products are kept in it. The order is issued as per the direction of provincial government decision to stop the usage of plastic bags within the province.
The DC, Dr Imran Hamid Sheikh further stated that in the second phase the ban will also be imposed on grocery and fruit shops. He was optimistic about the implementation of his order and said we would not face any problem in this regard because the traders were also informed about this decision on several occasions. He also added those found violating the order after the expiry of the deadline will be booked under section 144 of CrPC.
Ban on shopping bags in KP
Its pertinent mentioned here that the previous PTI led provincial govt of KP had imposed a complete ban on the production units of plastic bags on the recommendation of Environmental Protection Agency of KP. The government at that time showed a resolve not only to ban non-biodegradable plastics but also the black oxo-biodegradable plastic products which were declared a severe threat to the natural environment throughout the world.
That decision of the government sent a shock wave among the business community. They challenged the government decision and filed a writ petition in High court Peshawar. The traders and the shopkeepers were of the opinion that the notification issued by the provincial govt under the Environmental Protection Act 2014 is in violation of the fundamental rights and this decision of the govt will render thousands of people jobless in the terrorism-affected province and the right of earning bread for their families will be snatched from them.
Time required for a plastic bag to decompose
It is a shocking fact that a normal plastic bag or a piece of it took 400 to 1000 years to decompose which is considered to be a huge threat to nature. It is estimated that the amount of plastic waste is increasing 10 % each year for the past several years and the issue, if not taken seriously, will be devastating for generations to come.
On the other hand, the biodegradable bags can be decomposed by microorganisms like bacteria, fungi or other living organisms found in the natural environment. The ordinary non-biodegradable plastic bags, prepared from polyethene or polypropylene can be converted into biodegradable bags by adding such substances (chemicals) which will make them decomposable and biodegradable due to the process of oxidation. The biodegradable plastic material can also be produced from plant-based materials (corn and wheat starch).