Govt. making all out efforts to achieve targets of Clean & Green Pakistan: Zartaj Gul

Govt. making all out efforts to achieve targets of Clean & Green Pakistan: Zartaj Gul

ISLAMABAD (News Lab) – Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul has said that the government as per vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Clean and Green Pakistan, was making all out efforts to achieve the targets and funds amounting to Rs7.8 billion were allocated for 10 billion Tree Tsunami program for this year.

She said the government was pursuing the Prime Minister’s vision of environment protection and under Clean and Green program launched by the government, mega tree plantation drives were being carried out in 20 big cities of the country besides ensuring construction of new parks, provision of clean drinking water and up-gradation of sewerage system.

Zartaj Gul said single-use plastic bags were banned in Islamabad from Aug 14. She said according to a survey, about two million people in Islamabad use three to four bags daily and nearly five billion plastic bags are used annually in the country, which is alarming for the environment.

She said the Ministry was on board with district administration of the federal capital and Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency in this regard. Zartaj Gul said it was officially decided that there would be a complete ban on the use of plastic bags as it was approved in a cabinet meeting. The Minister said that the draft policy was shared with the participants and suggestions and inputs were taken to work on the final draft during its preparation process.

The Minister said the government was making earnest efforts to implement a complete ban on the use of Polythene bags in Federal Capital where its manufacturing, trading and sale would also be stopped permanently.

The Minister while warning the cosmetics industry, said that it has been noticed that this industry is using mercury while producing different creams which is dangerous for human skin.

Replying to a question, she said the government was working on legislation in this regard and crackdown would be started against the violators after Dec 31 this year.

The Minister said polythene bags were a threat to the environment besides the health hazards after knowing the worst affects of polythene the government was committed to ban it across the country. Chief Minister Punjab and CM Sindh had announced to also impose ban on use of plastic bags in their respective provinces, she added.

Until the common man would not get serious towards clean and green Pakistan campaign, the government could not achieve its environmental targets, adding the government and masses needed to work in collaboration to get rid of polythene curse, she commented.

She urged the citizens that where there was no ban imposed, the people at least start changing their behavior and mindset for using plastics.

She said media and civil society can help to strengthen ‘Say No Plastic Bags’ campaign. “We love to park our cars under a tree but we do not bother to plant the trees at first place,” she remarked.

The government in consultation with all the provinces was promoting the concept of clean and green Pakistan, the Minister added. She expressed the hope that after legislation, the use of plastic bags would also be banned in Punjab during next two months. She said Pakistan was trying to achieve targets of Ten Billion Tree Tsunami program to meet challenges of climate change and “We have prepared a plantation program for next four years.”

She said, Billion Tree Tsunami project, successfully completed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had earned global recognition for Pakistan. She said now that project has been replicated as Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, covering all the provinces, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

She further informed to control environmental pollution, a summery on electric vehicle policy had been sent to the federal cabinet for approval. She said, smoke emitting vehicles were a major cause of environmental pollution and electric vehicles besides reduction in environmental pollution, would also help lessen oil import bill and increase business opportunities in the county.