ISLAMABAD: The Aviation Division has directed 18 international airlines to stop use of plastic cutlery in flights to Pakistan.
The airlines are also directed to ensure that the cutlery is packed in paper rather than in plastic or polythene bags.
The information was shared by Aviation Division senior joint secretary Amjad Sattar Khokhar with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Monday.
Both were present at the committee room of Parliament House where a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was scheduled at 11am. But the meeting was delayed as committee chairperson Sitara Ayaz and other parliamentarians could not arrive on time. Media personnel were also present in the committee room.
“We have given directives to airlines that they cannot use plastic cutlery in the flights as we want to stop the use of plastic. Moreover, it is observed that the cutlery is packed in plastic sacks so we have also directed them to ensure that the cutlery should be wrapped in paper rather than in polythene,” Mr Khokhar said.
China Southern Airlines wants to know under which law should it follow the directive
“Also, we have decided to place standees with messages in this regard at airports so that passengers coming from abroad come to know that the use of plastic bags is banned in Pakistan,” he said.
Mr Aslam appreciated the step and said such messages can also be advertised on electronic boards placed near airports.
“I was travelling to a country [he said without mentioning the name of the country] and at the time of entry I was told that there would be a $200 fine for the use of plastic bags,” he said.
Talking to Dawn after the meeting, Mr Khokhar said that a written directive was sent to the airlines a few months back and after that reminders were also sent to them to ensure implementation.
“Only China Southern Airlines has asked from us that under which law should it stop the use of plastic cutlery and we have given them a reply. Other airlines have not asked about it which means they have no objection to it. We hope that the decision of the Aviation Division would be implemented shortly,” he said.
“We are also concerned about climate change and that is why we have planted over 50,000 saplings around airports,” Mr Khokhar said.
A new regulation under the Environmental Protection Act 1997, proposing a ban on polythene bags in the federal capital, was introduced in June this year and Aug 14 was the cut-off date.
The regulation is called “Pak-EPA Ban on (Manufacturing, Import, Sale, Purchase, Storage and Usage) Polythene Bags Regulations, 2019” and extended to the Islamabad Capital Territory. Later, other provinces also started following the federal capital and are in the process of banning the use of plastic bags.