Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Monday said that Pakistan would lead a new global movement that will accelerate agricultural innovation and transform food systems to address climate change. Pakistan would gain a better profit for farmers and increase the food production to sustain the country’s growing population, he said while talking to a private news channel. He said hosting of “World Environment Day” will further bring positive projections for the country and achievement on a global scale to showcase its climate change and environmental protection activities. He said the current government under the leadership of Prime minister Imran Khan was taking major steps for ecosystem restoration to mitigate the effects of environmental degradation including the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project and Green Economic Stimulus to National. He said by investing in innovation and technology in the agricultural sector, we can unlock opportunities for effective mitigation and adaptation, feed growing populations in resource-stressed areas and create economic growth. Amin said Pakistan has huge potential to produce olive because of its favorable weather conditions, adding, it would be a transformational program for local producers as olive cultivation is highly beneficial for the economy. Producing olive on native lands may help Pakistan not only fulfill its own needs but can also enable it to export the commodity to other countries, he mentioned. Quality of olive oil produced in Pakistan has proven far better than that of oil produced in Italy and Spain, he highlighted. He also stressed that we need to teach new generations about the environment and encourage researchers to conduct empirical studies on climate change issues. Pakistan joined the league of plastic free nations after making its federal capital free from single use polythene or plastic bags and banning plastic bags since August 14, 2019. Ministry of Climate Change, the lead agency for implementing plastic bags ban has confiscated around 3500 kilogrammes of single use plastic bags from various individuals, vendors, shopkeepers and outlets flouting the ban and also imposed fines of Rs 3 million through strict enforcement, told APP Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. Amin said the ban was imposed after revising a statutory regulatory order (SRO) of 2016 with further amendments to completely ban oxo-biodegradable bags and allowing completely degradable starch bags, reusable cotton and fabric bags that were environment friendly. He said the ban was necessary as plastic bags were equally detrimental for human health, wildlife, ecology and biodiversity and the main source of urban flooding in cities like Karachi. According to research, he said in 2050 if the use of plastic bags continued to rise at the same pace then there would be more plastic bags floating in the oceans than marine life. Amin added that since 1992, the annual production of plastic bags had increased magnanimously as 55 billion plastic bags were produced annually across the country with 15 percent increase in production per year. He said nations like Kenya had completely banned plastics who faced the worst violence in the shape of civil war. The SAPM said that a joint team of the Ministry, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and Islamabad Capital Territory Administration was responsible for ensuring compliance of the ban. He said no complacency was allowed, due to Covid outbreak, increasing disease spread and lockdowns; the enforcement drive faced a halt whereas the teams had geared up again to ensure complete implementation on the ban. Amin keenly underscored that a massive stakeholder dialogue with academia, business fraternity, plastic bags manufacturers, recycling associations at the country was held to devise a phase wise ban on plastic bags to avoid unemployment and loss of business. He added that it became an opportunity for impoverished women and transgender women to earn decent livelihood by making fabric or cotton bags and sell it out in a respectable banner instead of begging. He said the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab were also replicating the ban on plastic bags which would be implemented soon after proper legislation and implementation of mechanisms.