ISLAMABAD: Around 55 billion plastic shopping bags are being used each year in Pakistan as a 15 per cent annual increase has been recorded in the use of these bags.

Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency conducted a survey that revealed that there were about 8,021 production units in the country with average production capacity of 250-500 kilograms per day.

When contacted, officials at Climate Change Division on Wednesday highlighted negative impacts of the indiscriminate use of plastic bags on environment in general and on human health in particular.–APP

The officials said that plastic shoppers were notorious for choking sewerage lines, drainage system, spoiling sanitation and creating an overall anaesthetic view of environment.

The practice of burning plastic bags at dumpsites produces dioxins responsible for causing serious diseases. Plastic bags take much longer to degrade as compared to paper bags. Under the best circumstances, high-density polyethylene will take more than 20 years to degrade, the officials said.

The manufacturers oppose ban on the plastic bags, arguing that thousands were employed in the related industry.