Altaf Hamid Rao,
MIRPUR (AJK): In a swift and whirl-wind move to ensure the pollution-free environment in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, the State-run AJK Environment Protection Agency Wednesday imposed complete ban on manufacturing, sale and use of the non-degradable shopping bag with immediate effect across the state, it was officially announced.
Disclosing this, Director General Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of AJK Government, Raja Muhammad Razaque Khan told media here on Thursday that on the directives of the State government, his organization imposed the ban on production, sale and use of the non-degradable (polythin) anti-environment shopping bags through AJK.
“Those found involved in designing, manufacturing, sale or use of the anti-environment and anti-human body plastic shopping bags would be penalized under regulation Act-2013 of the manufacturing, use and sale of the non-degradable plastic products”, the DG said adding that it could result in award of fine and rigorous imprisonment or both to the convict by the court of law.
Razzaque, a seasoned environmentalist, underlined that the rising trend of the use of anti-environment plastic shopping bags and other products has become a big challenge and threat to the human beings and the live stock at surface and underwater – besides causing great harm to the environment with climate changes. “It has, therefore, become much imperative to overcome such alarming situation with an immediate effect”, he said.
Meanwhile, while kicking off the drive to get implemented the state prohibitory orders of imposition of ban on production, sale and use of the non-degradable plastic shopping bags, a high-power team of the environmentalist officials of the EPA AJK led by their top bass – DG Raja Muhammad Razaque Khan Wednesday visited the markets in the State’s metropolis to review the prevailing level of sale and use of the environment-friendly degradable shopping bags – besides to persuade the shopkeepers to shift from anti-environment plastic bags to the environment-friendly degradable shopping bags – after the imposition of ban on production, sale and use of the anti-human and anti-environment plastic shopping bags.
Visiting shop to shop for several hours in the wake of advent of the drive against anti-environment plastic shopping bags, the DG EPA advised the shopkeepers to focus for selling their products including edibles containing in the degradable or cloth-made bags. The EPA team got the available plastic shopping bags in the market tested by the laboratory to ensure its make of the degradable plastic material.
DG EPA Raja Razzaque told reporters on this occasion that the manufacturing, sale and use of non-degradable plastic shopping bags was totally banned the world over because of their hazardous affects on the human body and live stock besides the overall environment. “We will have to save the coming generations from such hazardous affects of the use of anti-environment plastic bags”, he emphasized.
Raja Razzaque further said that saving the natural environment from drastic bag affects and dissolving the hazardous affects caused by the climate changes had become much imperative and urgent need of the current era the world over. “ Being a vibrant, responsible and civilized nation, we shall also have to perform our due responsibilities to protect our coming generation from the negative environmental impacts”, he urged.
The DG EPA said that since complete ban on throwing garbage in the rivers in AJK has also been imposed, the government has decided to take immediate action against those found involved in violating the above prohibitory orders. He said, while responding to a question, that all stake holder government departments have been directed to strictly monitor the implementation of the prohibitory orders in letter and spirit.
To a question, the DG EPA said that following the environment-friendly approach, the AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan was bent upon to ensure the totally pollution-free environment in the scenic state of Azad Jammu Kashmir. “EPA is actively engaged across AJK to translate the above vision of the Prime Minister in to reality in letter and spirit”, he affirmed.
Meanwhile, street population across AJK have appreciated the drive imposing ban on production, sale and use of the non-degradable shopping bags. The social and political quarters including all segments of the civil society have called upon AJK government to ensure the availability of the degradable shopping bags to make the drive against harmful anti-environment shopping bags complete success.