ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked 18 international airlines to stop use of plastic cutlery and other non-biodegradable items on flights as the country ramps up its fight against plastic pollution.
The Aviation Division has also directed the airliners to ensure that the cutlery is packed in paper rather than in plastic or polythene bags.
"We have given directives to airlines that they cannot use plastic cutlery in the flights as we want to stop the use of plastic," said Aviation Division senior joint secretary Amjad Sattar Khokhar.
"Moreover, it is observed that the cutlery is packed in plastic sacks so we have also directed them to ensure that it is wrapped in paper rather than in polythene," Khokhar told the Dawn newspaper on Monday.
Khokhar said stands have been put at the airports for passengers coming from abroad with messages on ban of plastic bags.
Khokhar said a written directive was sent to the airlines a few months ago and after that reminders were also given 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," 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 use of plastic bags was banned from August 14.
The Sindh province banned use of plastic bags from this week while Punjab is also taking steps to outlaw it.
Meanwhile, owners and workers of plastic bag making factories have been protesting in front of Punjab Assembly again the ban.
They termed it an "economic murder".