AJK EPA kicks off drive to discourage sale and use of anti-environment Plastic shopping bags

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Altaf Hamid Rao,

MIRPUR (AJK):    State-run Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Azad Jammu & Kashmir has kicked off an integrated drive across AJK to encourage the use of Environment-Friendly Shopping Bags besides to avert the threats of the negative impacts of the use of normal shopping bags to the human body and the live stock besides to discourage the environmental pollution due to the use of the conventional bags.

This was revealed by Secretary Population Welfare and Director General of EPA, AJK Raja Muhammad Razzaque while talking to this Correspondent here on Saturday after conducting a surprise inspection, accompanying his department’s local team comprising Divisional Director Sardar Idrees Mahmood and other senior officials, of the local market here on Saturday to inquire about and assess the use of the environmental-friendly shopping bags in the open market.

The team visited the market of Mirpur City and apart from conducting the laboratory tests of the Plastic bags being sold in the market also interacted with the shopkeepers for switching over to Environmental Friendly Plastic bags with immediate effect.

AJK EPA’s top boss said while responding to queries that EPA-AJK has enforced Zero tolerance policy on Use of Non-Oxo Biodegradable Plastic shopping bags and has warned the Shopkeepers to switch over the Environment Friendly Shopping Bags sooner than later aimed at safeguard and conserving pristine environment of the area.

“As this menace, besides adversely contributing towards Environmental Degradation and Climate Change, has also become a continuous source of health hazards for the human beings as well as terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity”, the seasoned environmental expert observed.

“This is our responsibility to safeguard and conserve the pristine environment of the area for the present as well as future generations without making any compromise”, the DG EPA said.

It is pertinent to mention that the Prime Minister of AJK has strongly directed the EPA-AJK to enforce strict ban on Non-Oxo Biodegradable Plastic Bags.

Following the priorities of the government to ensure absolutely pollution-free environment in all means, the Director General AJK-EPA Raja Muhammad Razzaque along with his team has visited the market of Mirpur City and apart from conducting the laboratory tests of the Plastic bags being sold in the market also interacted with the shopkeepers for switching over to Environmental Friendly Plastic bags with immediate effect.

Razzaque assured to the shopkeepers / Stakeholders that EPA was always forthcoming to provide any kind of technical backstopping to this direction.

The stakeholders / shopkeepers has, meanwhile, has appreciated the assertive role of the EPA in resolving this serious Environmental Issue in Azad Jammu & Kashmir by taking all stakeholders on board.