Rawalpindi: (June 5, 2018): To celebrate World Environment Day, Oxfam in Pakistan joined hands with Canteen Store Department (CSD) stores in Rawalpindi and Bhara Kahu and promoted the use of cloth bags in place of plastic bags. The theme for this year “Beat Plastic Pollution” encourages public activism, and the campaign is an effort to shed light on the threats emerging from plastic pollution. Student volunteers distributed over 300 cloth bags to shoppers and shared tips on reducing plastic pollution.
Oxfam in Pakistan’s Country Director Mohammed Qazilbash appreciated the efforts of the volunteers and said,
World Environment Day provides an opportunity for each of us to embrace the many ways that we can help to combat plastic pollution around the world. There are so many things that we can do to dramatically decrease the amount of plastic trash you make. One of the easiest ways to keep plastic out of the landfill is to refuse single-use plastic. Take cloth bags with you when you go shopping. Let us foster a global movement where every individual, business and policy maker takes action against plastic pollution.
CSD Head Office Marketing Manager, Mr. Ahmer Bilal Raja said that to be eco-friendly all CSD stores across Pakistan use biodegradable plastic bags. CSD provided their main shopping mall space to raise awareness on the hazards plastic pollution and how to reduce it. Mr. Raja stated,
We were keen to support the campaign and curb the use of single-use plastics which pose a serious threat to our ecosystem.
Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leaks into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.
Oxfam organized the awareness activities in collaboration with Indus Consortium. Oxfam’s management including Program Director Adeel Qaiser, Security Advisor Alamgeer Khan and Program Quality and Funding Director Uzma Aftab pledged their support and launched the bag distributions at the CSD outlets. Oxfam hopes people will begin to realize that paper and plastic bags both come at great cost to the environment and will start carrying reusable bags with them instead.
Indus Consortium’s National Coordinator Hussain Jarwar said on the occasion that there is a need to raise awareness among the masses and have bans imposed by the government with heavy penalties on the manufacturing of plastic bags, their distribution and supplies with long-term policies.