K-P bans plastic products, again
PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has once again slapped a ban on the manufacture and trade of non-biodegradable plastic products by altering rules prohibiting non-biodegradable and regulating oxo-biodegradable products in the province.
The rules, “Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Prohibition of Non-biodegradable plastic products and Regulation of Oxo—biodegradable Plastic Products Rules 2017,” were notified on Wednesday.
Under the rules, the manufacture, import, storage, trade, supply, distribution, sale or use of any non-biodegradable plastic product has been prohibited across the province.
Under the newly notified rules, wholesale dealers and retailers have been directed to dispose of any existing stock of non-biodegradable plastic products within three months.
The rules have also cancelled all licences or permits for manufacturing, selling, distributing or import of non-biodegradable plastic products in the province.
Moreover, the rules have outlined a new registration procedure for manufacturers, sellers, importers or distributors of “pro-degradant additive”— a chemical which causes the plastic to degrade through the oxo-biodegradation process.
Applicants can approach the K-P Environmental Protection Agency which has the authority to issue certificates after performing the requisite tests for pro-degradant additive through an independent and accredited third party laboratory.
Moreover, the rules ban black oxo-biodegradable plastic products, except for garbage sacks. However, oxo-biodegradable plastic products have been restricted to have a thickness of at least 50 microns. Further, they would have to be marked as “Recycled Plastic Unsafe for Contact with Food.”
The rules stipulate that the oxo-biodegradable plastic products must be transparent in a natural shade or in white, whereas items, used for purposes other than storing and packaging foodstuffs, shall be manufactured, using pigments according to ISO 787/1-1 982 standards.
The K-P government has been struggling to ban the use and production of non-biodegradable plastic bags, particularly the black shopping bags, but have been largely unsuccessful thus far as evidenced from its frequent sightings in the markets and hovering over garbage heaps.
Meanwhile, a body of plastic bags manufacturers was less than warm to the rule changes noting that they were not consulted before the rules were framed. “The government is trying to blame us for its own failure to provide effective and quality sanitation and sewerage system,” said Plastic Bags Manufacturers and Sellers Association President Didar Gul Safi while referring to the K-P government’s claims about the role plastic bags play in blocking drains.
He cited the example of the Punjab where Safi claimed electricity was being generated from plastic bags. He complained that the K-P government had done nothing to recycle plastic bags in the province.
Regarding the change rules, he said that the government could impose new rules on local manufacturers but was sceptical about the plans the provincial government had to stop the smuggling of non-biodegradable plastic products from other provinces. “We have around 60 units in Peshawar but over 80 per cent of the plastic products come from the Punjab and Iran.