Thursday August 18, 2022

Comments sought on plea against ban on plastic bags

June 27, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has recently issued notices to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) and others on a petition of plastic bags manufacturers against the ban on production and sale of plastic bags in Karachi.

The petitioners had submitted in their plea that the KMC had banned the manufacturing of all types of plastic bags in the city, including the lawful trade of the petitioners, who had been manufacturing plastic bags under the law.

They submitted that the KMC had been empowered with municipal functions but the Sindh Local Government Act did not authorise the KMC to ban lawful trades and businesses. They submitted that they were manufacturing plastic bags under the law and produced such bags that were oxo-biodegradable and pro-degradant and approved by the environmental protection agency.

They informed the high court that the law related to the prohibition of plastic bags only restricted import, manufacturing, supply and distribution of such bags which that were non-degradable.

They petitioners maintained that they had been manufacturing and supplying quality bags to several departmental stores and other clients that were eco-friendly and pro-degradant, and hence permissible under the law.

They submitted that the respondents were empowered to pass an environmental protection order only after hearing the parties but no action had been initiated by the environmental protection agency or the solid waste management board against the petitioners.

They argued that the KMC had no power to ban the lawfully manufactured plastic bags being supplied to private businessman after fulfilling all the legal formalities. The petitioners also said that the crackdown on their shops and manufacturing places by the KMC staff was without a lawful authority.

The high court was requested to declare the impugned order of the KMC with regard to the complete ban on manufacturing of plastic bags as illegal and against the spirit of the plastic bags prohibition law that allowed the manufacturing of environmental friendly plastic bags with approval of the environmental protection agency.

A division bench of the SHC comprising Justice Mohammad Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito after a preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to the KMC, SSWMB and others, and called their comments. It is pertinent to mention that the KMC has banned use and manufacturing of all types of polythene bags in the city since June 15.