Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the government of Punjab to seal mega departments stores for failure to stop using plastic bags, and to provide affidavits in seven days to meet the ban.
Justice Shahid Karim was hearing public interest litigation moved by Haroon Farooq seeking a direction to the Punjab government to legislate on banning the use, manufacture and sale of polythene bags and introduce necessary legislation in this regard.
On Feb 7, the court had banned the use of plastic bags at all megastores in the provincial metropolis and gave them 15-day deadline to switch to alternative shopping bags.
As hearing resumed on Friday, a provincial law officer, Anees Hashmi, presented a report on behalf of EPA, stating some bakeries and Utility Stores had not abandoned plastic bags. He, however, pointed that administration of a store and bakery had submitted affidavits to end the use of plastic bags till March 4.
Justice Karim expressed annoyance over the report and remarked “seal stores which are using plastic bags.” Justice Karim directed the government to seal bakeries and stores if they did not give affidavits to comply with the ban within seven days. Heading the proceedings, Justice Karim remarked that if businessmen were least concerned about the matter, they had no right to carry out their activities.
In a related matter, the judge also expressed displeasure over the sale of drinking water in plastic bottles and issued notices to all water manufacturing companies. “I am also issuing notices to the water companies using plastic bottles,” he said and added that the world had already shunned the use of plastic bottles and adopted glass bottles for the purpose.
The judge further said that in the next phase the court would ban the use of plastic material in restaurants and bakeries.
The units which are selling water in plastic bottles are the biggest offenders, the court added. The judge said that the masses had to change themselves to improve the situation and adjourned the case until March 6.