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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Jamila Achakzai

The News International

Published Date: Jul 12, 2020

Plastic bag clampdown out of steam during pandemic

Islamabad : The single-use plastic bags have re-emerged in the federal capital despite ban showing the environment has taken a back seat to the coronavirus emergency.

The administration had banned the use of bags made from polyethylene in Islamabad on August 14 over extremely slow decomposition and choking of drainage and announced Rs100,000 to Rs500,000 fine for plastic bag manufacturers and wholesalers each, Rs10,000 to Rs 50,000 for shopkeepers each and Rs5,000 for shoppers each.

The ban’s enforcement was strict for initial months forcing both shopkeepers and customers to use paper and cloth bags for fear of penalty.

However, the outbreak of novel coronavirus in late February took a heavy toll on the environmental initiative.

Plastic bags made a comeback on the market as small shops, big stores and eateries with a few exceptions began giving away goods to visitors in eco-unfriendly bags.

Experts insist that the fight against coronavirus has taken priority over the enforcement of the hard-won plastic bag ban.

“I think that the focus of the authorities on how to contain COVID-19 and protect livelihoods has switched the attention away from the plastic bag issue. The [bag] crackdown has run out of steam,” Maryam Shabbir Abbasi, an environmentalist at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, told ‘The News’.

She said the environmental regulator, Pak-EPA, vigorously checked ban violations before the coronavirus spread but that was no more the case. The expert also wondered why the regulator had stopped releasing the air pollution statistics on its official Twitter handle.

She also felt that the Pak-EPA was doing nothing about the proper disposal of the COVID-19-related infectious waste.

Environmentalists claim that the plastic industry is using the coronavirus scare to promote single-use polythene bags though studies have revealed that the virus survives on plastic surfaces for one to three days, while the reusable bags can be sanitised to prevent the spread of infection.

They fear that if the use of hazardous bags isn’t checked without delay, the people will take time to break the habit even after the COVID-19 problem is over and thus, reversing the environmental gains made after the ban’s enforcement.

When contacted, Pak-EPA head Farzana Altaf Shah denied a shift in focus from plastic bag clampdown to the COVID-19 prevention and control.

She, however, agreed that the ban’s enforcement had slowed down during the pandemic and attributed it to the coronavirus-induced lockdowns and her all three field officers and some assistant commissioners of the district administration isolating themselves in their homes after testing positive for coronavirus.

Ms Shah was quick to add that the regulator had resumed the strict checking of plastic bags in markets and was handing down heavy fines to ban violators without discrimination.

She said the Pak-EPA had fined the government departments Rs1.4 million and issued notices to the civic agency, CDA, during the pandemic over violation of environmental laws.