ISLAMABAD (APP) - Ministry of Environment and the polythene bags producers finally agreed to opt for biodegradable plastic bags instead of in-vogue polythene bags. The Environment Ministry has finally worked out a plan in consultation with the producers to replace the present plastic nags with degradable polythene bags, said Secretary Environment, Kamran Lashari at a news conference. He said experiments were being done over the period to produce a degradable bag and finally we have found that after simply adding a chemical, the plastic bag may be made degradable. Addition of this chemical would just rise the production cost by ten per cent, he said. But, on the other hand the nation would be rid from the dilemma of plastic bags and number of diseases. The National Assembly had passed a resolution two years back to ban polythene bags. But, it could not be done due to association of thousands workers to the plastic bags industry. Banning abruptly could have deprived thousands of facilities of their livelihood, he said. It has been found that the polythene bags presently used do not degrade till thousands of years and were badly affecting the environment. These used bags were not only choking the drains, but also adding to solid waste and their burning in open by different civic departments were emitting harmful gases. The bag we are going to introduce, would degrade within six months, Lashari said. It is for the first time that we and the producers have reached a consensus. A series of experiments were conducted and finally we have produced a biodegradable plastic bag, he said. Lashari mentioned, a law would be put in place in this regard and the violators would face penalties. He said, an anti-litter campaign would be launched from June 05 from five markets of Islamabad including F-7, F-8, F-10, I-8 and one other market. He said market unions, CDA and children of one school each near to these markets would effectively be involved to make the campaign a success. It would be an awareness and publicity campaign and would continue till three weeks, he said. After three weeks, the violators would be penalised. Answering a question about promoting the waste recycling culture, Lashari said, it is a viable business and private sector should come forward to invest in this sector. We can recycle polythene bags, solid waste and other waste items to properly reuse. We can even produce furniture by recycling polythene bags, he said. From solid waste, we can produce fertilisers and even electricity, Lashari added. The Secretary Environment agreed that private sector should be encouraged and given incentives to come forward for investing in this area.