Biodegradable alternatives to replace plastic bags: Amin Aslam
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the federal capital will embrace complete ban on polythene or plastic bags by 14 August where other biodegradable alternates are allowed to overcome plastic pollution.
Talking to this agency, he said the Ministry of Climate Change under the legislation namely the statutory regulatory order (SRO) approved by the cabinet gave liberty for the plastic bag producers to adopt innovative substitutes for polythene bags. Like jute, cotton, recycle and reusable plastic bags and biodegradable organic solutions namely potato starch bags were permissible, he added.
He added that environmental sciences students had come up with many out of the box solutions which could be replicated for the better good of the masses and the ecology. “At present around 55 billion plastic bags are being produced in the country as compared to 10 million bags in 1990 which is worrying,” he said.
He said the mass awareness campaign had been kicked off in the federal capital which would focus mass public awareness. It meant not only to shun the use of polythene bags rather a behavioural change in the society to avoid damaging the environment and ecosystem which was already facing threats due to climate change, he added.
“A student at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University has developed a biodegradable plastic bag made of starch from mango seed which is appreciable and the ministry will take up such solutions to phase out polythene bags,” Amin Aslam said.
The adviser mentioned that 80 per cent of the urban flooding was caused because of plastic bags choking most of the sewers and drains. He added that we had also banned Oxo-biodegradable plastic bags which were more lethal then polythene.
It used to get reduced into tiny shreds after decomposition on exposure with the environment which then goes into the water resultantly consumed by the fish and aquatic life coming back into the food chain.
It had serious impacts on human health and environment, he said. Two months back we have received information from Gilgit-Baltistan authorities that a record snowfall during the past five years has been recorded.
This could lead to serious floods happening in the country where on this intimation we wrote letters to all chief secretaries to take pre-emptive measures to deal with any expected flood like situation, he said in a query to the occurrence of urban flooding incidents in Karachi and flood like situation in other vicinities.