A Notification dated 27th September, 2019 issued by the Government of Sindh, Environment Climate Change and Coastal Development Department imposed a complete ban on the manufacturing, sale, purchase and use of non-degradable plastic bags with effect from 1st October, 2019. The manufacture, sale, purchase and use of non-biodegradable plastics is also prohibited by the Sindh Environment Protection Act, 2014. And yet, the use of plastic bags continues in Sindh. Given the grave environmental threat caused by the use of single-use and non-biodegradable plastics, it is imperative that the Sindh Government take immediate action to, at the very least, phase out use of the same. Once these plastics reach the ocean waters, they wreak havoc with underwater life, including those animal species that have been declared endangered. Further, given the faltering infrastructure of Karachi and the dumping of solid waste into the drainage system by local authorities as well as communities that have no access to trash disposal mechanisms, plastic bags tend to clog the system. This inevitably contributes to excessive flooding every year and all the accompanying issues that come with it, including the risk of electrocution, spread of diseases, disruption of business and electric power.
PILAP has submitted RTIs to the Environment Climate Change and Coastal Development Department and the Sindh Environment Protection Agency inquiring into SEPA’s failure to implement a complete ban on non-biodegradable plastics as required by the 2014 Act; the reasoning behind the Government of Sindh’s failure through the Environment Climate Change and Coastal Development to implement a complete ban on the manufacture, sale, purchase and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags as per the Notification dated 27th September, 2019; and policy measures taken by SEPA to implement the provisions under Section 14 (3) of the Sindh Environment Protection Act, 2014.