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August 19, 2019

Together we can, Mr DC


August 19, 2019

Islamabad leads Pakistan’s metropolis from the front in launching positive initiatives, hence justifying its status as the capital of the country. Latest among them is the drive to keep the city free from plastic bags.

On the face of it, it seems to be a simple task but it is not so. It cannot be done by a ministerial decree or whatever. Here rose to the occasion Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat. He is young, energetic, full of purpose, trouble shooter and with a vision.

He has already proved his mettle mounting moves against polio and dengue. Then we saw him actively pursuing the gigantic task of making Islamabad greener and cleaner. And he did it. As far as the menace of plastic bags is concerned, I fear it will prove to be the most stubborn curse he has warded off so far.

First of all, there is a need to stop the supply of plastic bags to Islamabad markets. They are used made in countless units of small industries and are sold in city markets in bulk.

From a fruit vendor to an upscale boutique, everybody uses plastic bags to put commodities in. There is a need to change this style of business.

People know well the dangers of plastic bags to our environment and its negative impact on our generations to come. So it would be no less than stating the obvious to retell them the same.

But there is a need to demonstrate to them in 3-D visuals what experts have already told them about the environmental degradation process. Professional community mobilizers and communication experts are need to do the job.

I remember some professors of Quaid-i-Azam University had done successful experiment of a worm eating plastic. This is a very useful research that must be funded and used at the government level.

Second, there is need to implement the ban on plastic bags in the city markets with full force. There are many kinds of non-plastic and environment-friendly shopping bags and customers should be made aware of their affectivity and ready availability.

Once the ban is implemented, people will change their behaviour. It has been successfully implemented in Naval Anchorage, a housing society. The administration banned plastic bags and now everyone carries their own non-plastic bags when they go to shopping. The toughest challenge for consumers was to buy dairy products which are mostly liquid, hard to keep in non-plastic bags. But now people take with them their bowls with tight lids and buy these products with ease. For this successful experiment, administration of Naval Anchorage or any other society for that matter deserves praise.

Mr Shafqaat is seen visiting city markets to make sure that the ban is fully implemented. However, in some tweets he has been seen writing that he asks people to keep the city clean but they don’t. We in this space assure him that citizens of Islamabad are with him on this score and we have full faith in his leadership. Go ahead Mr DC and give us a plastic bags-free Islamabad, the greener and the cleaner.

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