LAHORE - In the wake of ban imposed on plastic bags by LHC, more than 78 factories manufacturing plastic bags are likely to be closed down. Whereas as many as 0.3 million employees working in these factories fear to be jobless. It may be recalled that plastic shopping bags industry is the third top revenue generating industry and ban will affect the revenue collection leading to deepen the economic crisis aggravating day by day. The Punjab government has started preparations to finalise the execution of the ban. Environment Protection Department (EPD) Punjab has been ordered to prepare the list of all registered and unregistered factories manufacturing plastic bags. EPD Punjab will submit the list to government in couple of days. Later on, the red notices will be issued. It is pertinent to mention that National Assembly has already unanimously adopted to ban use of plastic shopping bags and to bring in use the bio-degradable shopping bags. The resolution was moved by MNA Riaz Fatyana, due to its detrimental effects on the environment and human health. In his brief statement, Fatyana said, plastic shopping bags hampered plants nourishment, emit harmful gases when burnt, lethal to children and may also cause death. He said black plastic shopping bags were even more lethal for having tendency to cause cancer and other health hazards. He said the plastic bags should be replaced with cloth bags or the paper bags for the better health of people and to protect environment. However, MNA Khawaja Sohail Mansoor opposed ban, saying imposing ban was not solution to the problem. He referred to a study conducted by the Karachi City District Government and said, in Sindh only 30 micron plastic bag is allowed which is not harmful. But, in other provinces, he said, 15 micron plastic bag is used which is harmful. So, the 15 micron plastic bag can be converted into 30 micron instead of banning the production. But, till the time his recommendations came, the resolution was already adopted. Currently, countries that have banned or limited the use of plastic disposables include India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. According to the survey conducted by The Nation, 75 per cent use plastic bags while the use of paper bags is 6 per cent, cloth bags 17 per cent and baskets 2 per cent. Survey revealed that everyday, millions of plastic shopping bags are thrown away in cities, towns and villages. Only 10-15 per cent are put in dustbins, the rest end up in drains, sewage channels and open spaces. Eighty per cent of the drains in the city are blocked because of polythene bags. Plastic and polythene bags, plastic bottles and milk and juice cartons litter everywhere. Polythene bags commonly known as plastic shopping bags are normally used for packing and carrying utility stuffs. A majority of people prefer to carry goods in polythene bags. Streets and roads of urban as well as rural areas are littered with polythene bags creating hindrance in waste disposal and sewerage lines. WASA MD Javed Iqbal said that plastic bags becoming the principal means of bringing home groceries and other shopping items are dumped in drains causing sewerage and drainage problems. He said that the use of traditional means such as cloth bags and paper bags has dropped dramatically while prevalence of plastic bags is nearly equal in urban and rural areas. He said that since plastic did not decompose, polythene bags clogged drains and sewers resulting in water logging. "Polythene bags' recycling causes release of hydrogen cyanide gas which may lead to breathing difficulties and chest problems," he added. "No doubt their large quantity in solid waste persuaded many to recycle them but recycled plastic bags are carcinogenic (cancer inducing) in nature and pose a potential threat to the manufacturer as well as the user, as they are not food grade material and hence contaminate food stored in them," he said "Though people prefer to carry shopping bags but they do not know how much pollution it causes. Almost all other chemical products are biodegradable -recyclable. But the problem with plastic bags is that they cannot be recycled. So they are doing nothing else but playing a highly vital role in polluting our environment," says Dr Irshaad Hussain, a researcher.