Plastic products to be banned in Pakistan’s Punjab province from June 5

The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province announced a complete ban on the production, distribution, and sale of plastic products, effective June 5 – World Environment Day 2024.

The Punjab information ministry said in a statement that the ban was imposed due to health risks associated with plastic, including cancer and other fatal diseases.

Plastic production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, releasing at least 232 million tons of these gases annually. These emissions exacerbate global warming by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to climate change and its devastating impacts worldwide.

To combat environmental pollution and mitigate climate change, Pakistan’s largest province decided to take a strong stance against plastic.

A crackdown on factories manufacturing illegal plastic products will begin on June 5, targeting not only production but also the distribution and sale of plastic bags. Hotels, restaurants, and other food establishments will be prohibited from providing food in plastic bags. Violators of the ban will face strict action, including heavy fines.

Banned plastic products

Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency announced a comprehensive list of banned plastic products. This includes plastic bags with a thickness of less than 75 microns and a size of less than 12×16 inches, as well as earbuds with plastic sticks.

Other banned items include plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, plastic candy and ice cream sticks, polystyrene disposable cups, glasses, plates, food boxes, plastic wrapping on sweets boxes, and plastic cards. Additionally, plastic cigarette packets, PVC banners less than 80 microns, and multi-layered packaging of less than 40 microns for food and medicine are prohibited.

Deputy Commissioner Abdullah Nayyar Sheikh instructed assistant commissioners and the Environment Department Agency to ensure strict enforcement of the ban. He emphasized a zero-tolerance policy, urging citizens to adopt eco-friendly alternatives.

“Let’s get rid of plastic; save the earth and use eco-friendly shopping bags to ensure environmental protection,” he stated.

Officials have encouraged citizens and retailers to use eco-friendly alternatives. Deputy Director of Environment Protection Agency Maria Safeer urged the citizens to act responsibly and choose steel or other environmentally friendly alternatives for food consumption.

The decision marked a significant step towards addressing the environmental and health challenges posed by plastic pollution in Punjab and set a precedent for other regions to follow.

Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, having experienced severe weather events such as untimely downpours, deadly floods, heat waves, and droughts in recent years. These events have been linked to the changing climate. Recently, the country experienced an intense heatwave with temperatures soaring above 52 degrees Celsius (126°F) in some areas.

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