Minister for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul, has said that the government is considering to prohibit usage of single-use plastic bags in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) by August 14.
Replying to a question in the Question Hour of the National Assembly, the minister said that the government is drafting a Statutory Notification (SRO) under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 to provide legal support to the proposed action.
The minister further apprised the National Assembly that her ministry has also taken measures discouraging excessive use of plastic in the government departments, which include a ban on single-time-use polythene bags and PET bottles in the Ministry of Climate Change.
She told that the ministry has dispersed cotton bags among its officials, the parliamentarians, and the media personnel as an alternative to plastic bags. As much as 5000 cotton bags have been produced for distribution among the federal government employees.
Zartaj Gul added that these bags will also be distributed free of cost in Jummah and Itwaar bazaars along with other markets. The ministry is also planning to launch an awareness campaign on the hazards of single-use-plastic.
The Environmental Protection Agency (PAK-EPA) has undertaken an extensive survey of Industrial Estate of Islamabad located in sectors I-9, I-10, and Kahuta Triangle to categorize and identify the types and number of industries. The survey identified a total of 185 industrial units in the said areas.
The minister said that steel furnaces are the major cause of air pollution in ICT. PAK-EPA is regularly monitoring these furnaces through the installation of cameras and online dust monitoring system. Scrubbers have also been installed to absorb carbon from the emissions.
According to the minister, 12 steel units are causing pollution in Sector I-9, I-10 despite legal action and strict monitoring. The Supreme Court also ordered to cease the operations of all steel mills until the installation of the online dust monitoring system on the stacks.