Tabriz Pioneer in Curbing Use of Plastic Bags

Kids posing with a fabric bag provided by Tabriz's Department of Environment as part of an initiative to curb the use of plastic bags

The city of Tabriz, a city in the northwestern Iran and the Tourism Capital of Muslim world in 2018, has started an initiative to encourage people to stop using plastic bags.

Plastic poses serious threats to our planet’s survival: From inflicting damage to the lives and environment of the sea creatures as well as animals and birds to creating the tough challenge of collecting piles of garbage, landfill and their consequent pollution across the world.

Plastic garbage is among the main challenges that we face today because tackling the problems and the dangers that they have created so far requires a huge amount of money. Many countries have failed to achieve a considerable success in dealing with the challenge. Many believe one of the most effective and economic ways to cope with this problem is to minimize the use of plastic in our daily lives. To this effect, packaging and production industries must lower the level of plastic use in their products.

In Iran, the officials of Tabriz have undertaken a new initiative to tackle the problem. At least 10,000 fabric bags have been distributed among the citizens who took part in the last Friday Prayers of the city, said Hamid Qassemi, Head of the Environment Department at East Azarbaijan.

“Following earlier coordination with the office of Seyyed Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, the representative of Iran’s Leader and Friday prayers Imam of Tabriz who is among the leading environmentalist of the province, we decided to distribute fabric bags instead of plastic ones among the worshippers for keeping their slippers or shoes while in the grand mosque,” he was quoted as saying in a Farsi report by the DoE’s official website.

He underlined that the initiative was undertaken in support of the Leader’s initiative to name the current Persian year as the year of support for Iranian products.

“All the bags were designed and produced in Tabriz by local producers,” Qassemi said.

He referred to the issue of pollution as a global challenge facing all people concerned with environmental issues and said collecting huge piles of garbage in the world, their landfill and dire hygienic consequences are among the major issues for every small and developing country.

He outlined the plans already developed in the province to promote the culture of preserving the environment and said Iran’s Constitution attaches great significance to protecting the environment against pollution of various types.

“Dispatching environmental experts to schools, launching campaigns to collect garbage from across the province, holding local competition with the main theme of writing the best pieces on the importance of earth and its pollution are among the measures adopted by the provincial officials to make the province cleaner,” he noted.

Qassemi said the city’s entrances as well as highways leading to it were also cleaned up as part of a larger plan to mark Earth Day.

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events in more than 193 countries are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

 

Legal Curb on Use of Plastic Bags

The Iranian administration will take the final decision by late June on approving previously drafted regulations which aim to decrease the use of plastic bags in the country, an official with the Department of Environment has said.

Levying tax on the use of plastic bags, promoting awareness towards harms of plastic, and manufacturing recyclable plastic bags are among the main subjects of this regulations, ISNA quoted Ali Moridi as saying on Sunday.

“Currently we are discussing the issue with the ministry of industry. Since these regulations affect the production and consumption of plastics, there is resistance against its implementation.”

Although there is no detailed data on the consumption rate of plastics in the country, it is evident that this consumption trend is way higher than that of advanced countries, he lamented.

Unfortunately, plastic bags are offered free of charge in Iran’s supermarkets while this is not the case in some other countries, he said, adding that putting extra charge on plastic bags will act as a deterrent and encourages citizens to use reusable cloth bags.

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