ISLAMABAD (A. F. Kakar): The Standing Committee on Climate Change in its meeting on Monday took strong notice of lack of preparedness of the Aviation Division.

Ban on Plastic

Standing Committee has stressed recurrently that plastic wrapping of luggage be made mandatory to protect passengers from theft and implication in crime associated with drug trafficking.

It was later learned that the government has withdrawn it and now it was the choice of the passengers to utilise the plastic wrap facility.  

Senator Sitara Ayaz has chaired the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Minister of State for Climate change and the Advisor on Climate Change also participated in the meeting. 

Alternate Options

The Committee stressed the need to weigh other options. It said that baggage protection was the responsibility of the Aviation; passengers must not be charged for this service. 

While discussing the use of plastics by various multi-national companies the Ministry of Industries and Production was of the opinion that ban on plastics must be carried out in phases, to ensure that businesses are not affected.  The Ministry was of the opinion that a policy must be formalized for this. 

Chairman Committee, Senator Sitara Ayaz stressed the need for an alternate plan to protect industries and labour force.  She said that a step by step briefing was required to place a plan, so that stakeholders are not at a loss.

DG Environmental Protection Agency, informed the Committee that labour would not go out of employment, because in addition to plastic bags the same producers are involved in the manufacture of other products as well. 

Minister of State for Climate Change, Ms. Zartaj Gul informed the Committee that there are many players that have come in the market.

She briefed that this measure was greatly benefiting women because now they could manufacture cloth bags from home. 

Promote Cottage Industries

Numerous cottage industries such as jute, cotton, etc, would also be introduced due to this initiative, she added.

The Plastic Manufacturers Association while pleading their case and said that increasing thickness of bag would ensure that these do not fly around and it will cost more; thus reducing usage. 

The Association asserted that imposing a total ban on plastics was not the answer and that 10,000000 labour force would be affected from such a decision. 

The need for recycling was stressed as it would increase employment opportunities.  The Committee was of the opinion that steps must be taken to facilitate stakeholders.  A phase wise transition was strongly recommended.