Need to protect environment stressed
ISLAMABAD: An NGO distributed 500 environment-friendly shopping bags among people in Blue Area to mark the World Environment Day.
The Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5. This year’s theme is ‘Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level’.
Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photo-degrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways, and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest them.
Nearly 90 per cent of the debris in our oceans is plastic, which kill over 100,000 sea turtles and other marine animals every year, when animals mistake the indigestible garbage for food.
These views were expressed by environmental activists here on Thursday during an awareness raising stint.
The event was organised by Indus Consortium in collaboration with Oxfam Pakistan.
Indus Consortium’s National Coordinator Hussain Jarwar said there was a need to raise awareness among the people at all levels and a ban should be placed by the government with heavy penalties for manufacturing and distributing plastic bags.
Despite the scorching heat in the afternoon, citizens took interest in the awareness raising stint.
“I fondly remember that, in my youth, we used bags made of cloth when going to the market to buy groceries,” said Zuhra Khan, a 55-year-old housewife, explaining that the event was a good reminder to start caring for the environment.
Another citizen, Fiza Qureshi, said that the plastic bag litter had become such an environmental nuisance that Ireland, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia and Bangladesh had heavily taxed or banned their use outright. Several other regions, including England and some US cities are considering similar actions.
“We need to have a similar legislation here in Pakistan,” she said.
Indus Consortium’s Manager for Climate Change Campaign Ashok Lilani said a plastic bag could take between 400 to 1,000 years to break down in the environment.
Ashok Lilani hoped people would begin to realise that paper and plastic bags both cost greatly to the environment and instead of scratching their head when asked which type they preferred, they would pull a tightly packed reusable bag from their pocket.
While a few private enterprises marked the World Environment Day, the Climate Change Division (CCD) gave it little importance and stayed away from the commemorations that are also marked around the world.