After Islamabad and Sindh, Punjab too has decided to become environmentally-friendly by banning plastic bags in the province.
Over a million people, however, working in the plastic industry will be affected by the decision.
Labourers fear they will lose their jobs because of the ban. Many workers staged a sit-in in Lahore, demanding the government to provide them alternative ways of earning income.
“The government did its job by announcing the plastic ban, but didn’t think twice about a million people, who will be unemployed,” said a labourer.
Factory owners are also concerned. “If we manufacture 100 micron plastic bags, instead of 15 micron, we will face big losses,” said Muazzam Rashid, a factory owner in Lahore.
“In other countries, governments have imposed a ban on plastic bags less than 50 micron, but prohibiting them is not the solution,” Rashid added.
However, environmentalists lauded the government’s efforts to impose the restriction.
Hammad Naqi Khan, the director-general of the World Wide Fund for Nature, told SAMAA TV that high consumption of plastic bags is harmful to the environment. “If we don’t limit the use of plastic, we won’t be able to protect our environment.”