in pakistan\'s northern mountains, plastic bags face the bin
Thomson Reuters Foundation-
In this region of northern Pakistan surrounded by towering mountains and glaciers, plastic shopping bags are now illegal.
In April, in order to reduce plastic waste and pollution, the provincial government banned their \"use, purchase, export or import\" and introduced cloth shopping bags for the first time.
Now, with those things hanging in the store, many customers have started to bring bags from home --
Although not everyone is happy with the change.
\"The use of plastic bags is not only convenient but also very cheap compared to cloth and paper bags,\" said Ikram Jamal, a trader in the city\'s main market.
\"In the absence of alternative options, both customers and traders face the challenge of an immediate ban on plastic bags,\" he said, noting that only a limited supply of cloth bags has been made so far. But 50-year-
Old Shamim bagham, a shopper on the market, said she was adjusting.
\"After the owner refused to give us the plastic bag, I now brought home a bag myself,\" she said . \".
Carrying cloth bags for all shopping can be a challenge, she said, but people need to obey the government\'s decision.
Around the world, cities, regions and countries are working to reduce plastic waste and prohibit the use of items such as garbage.
Take away plastic shopping bags and straws.
However, the pioneers of this movement are not only in the rich countries, but also in many developing countries, from Tanzania to Bangladesh, and now the Gilgit of Pakistan --
Battitan region, the northernmost part of the country.
Malik Amin Aslam, Pakistan\'s prime minister\'s climate change adviser, said Hunza was the first area in Pakistan to ban plastic shopping bags.
But the ban is now spreading, as are the cities of Punjab and Quetta, where Islamabad will do the same in August.
In Hunza, the provincial government and Gilgit-
The Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency and the Karakoram regional development organization have launched a pilot ban to clean up the narrow mountainous areas
The Valley attracts more than ten million tourists every year.
The scenic Karakoram highway connecting Pakistan and China runs through the region.
At least some tourists said during their stay in Hunza that they thought it would be a good idea to ban carrying luggage.
\"When I purchased a bottle of mineral water from his shop at the Hunza market, the owner refused to give me a plastic bag.
It\'s a positive change, \"30-
This year, travel from Lahore to the village of Sikandarabad in Hunza to visit Ishtiaq Bhatti.
Kamal Uddin, chief executive of the Karakoram regional development organization, said the ban was found in a survey by his team and the City of Hunza, about 70,000 plastic bags are used and discarded each month in the valley.
Shopping with cloth bags is not an innovation, says Uddin.
He said it was the norm in the region before cheap plastic bags arrived.
Restoring the use of cloth bags can also provide jobs, he said.
At least 50 local women and a dozen disabled people were hired to sew bags, he said.
The original 10,000 shopping bags with-
Shahzad Shigri, director of Gilgit-said the plastic campaign was provided by the government and distributed free of charge locally
Environmental protection bureau of Battis
But Uddin says more bags will be produced locally. SUPPORT -
Local residents and traders say the plastic ban is a good step in a greener direction --
But it turned out to be a bit of a headache.
\"We appreciate that this initiative is for a good cause,\" said Taj Mohammed Rumi, a trader at the Sust market near the Chinese border.
He said the increase in population and the large number of tourists had a negative impact on the environment in the region.
\"But the challenge remains and there is no proper and systematic mechanism to provide the bag,\" he said . \".
Qasim Ejaz, assistant district commissioner at Hunza, said the ban on plastic bags needs to be extended to all disposable plastic items.
But regulation and even the ban will be a challenge, he said, because tourists often carry luggage from outside.
The valley has between 600,000 and 700,000 visitors a year, he said.
Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency says the agency is now aiming to extend the ban on plastic bags to all national parks in the northern region.
At present, despite the ban, plastic bags are still lurking in the market in the region.
A young trader at the main market in Aliabad says the owner is still pitching something to customers who don\'t have a shopping bag, especially without a bag.
\"Although there is no public display of plastic bags in the market due to concerns about administrative restrictions, because there is no cloth and paper bags, plastic bags are still used in some areas, he said.
Uddin of the Karakoram Regional Development Organization said this is what can be expected.
\"It\'s a tough task and it takes some time to complete the stage (plastic)out,” he said.
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