Govt Bans Single-Use Plastics to Combat Pollution

Senator Sherry Rehman, the Federal Minister for Climate Change, has introduced the Single-Use Plastics (Prohibition) Regulations 2023. These regulations mark a significant step towards combating plastic pollution, aiming to reduce adverse impacts on human health and the environment, facilitate the transition to a circular economy, enhance solid waste management systems, shift responsibility to polluters, and encourage sustainable practices.

During her keynote speech at an event organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Ministry of Climate Change & Environmental Coordination to celebrate World Environment Day 2023, the senator appreciated the United Nations for raising awareness through the #BeatPlasticPollution campaign. 

The minister emphasized the need to hold businesses accountable for their unlawful practices and highlighted that regulations alone could not solve the problem.

The regulations include a timeline for the prohibition of various single-use plastic items. Starting from 1 August 2023, single-use plastic crockery, such as plates, bowls, cups, and glasses, and single-use plastic cutlery, including forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks, will no longer be permitted. 

Additionally, single-use plastic food service ware, such as lidded containers, boxes, cups, plates, and bowls used for serving or transporting food or beverages, and single-use plastic stirrers will also be banned from 1 August 2023. 

Two years after that, single-use plastic drinking straws will also be banned. Single-use polythene bags will be banned upon the commencement of the regulations. Lastly, it is mandated that all plastic bottles must contain 50 percent recycled plastic starting from 1 July 2028.

The minister highlighted that despite longstanding efforts to promote recycling, the global recycling rate for plastic waste remains dismally low at 9 percent. This further burdens our already-polluted oceans and contributes to the alarming state of the Indus River, ranked as the second most polluted river worldwide.

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