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Can’t abandon single-use plastic until inflow is stopped, say vendors

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Sep 18, 2022 9:52 pm
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Our Correspondent
Kohima, Sep. 17 (EMN): Barely three months after the Nagaland government banned single-use plastic (SUP) items in the state, the prohibited items have started resurfacing in the state capital of late.

Citizens have been observed carrying plastic bags after purchasing goods and other items from street vendors, vegetable vendors, and convenience stores, irrespective of gender.

A shopkeeper, who wished not to be named, told Eastern Mirror that even after the government banned single-use plastic, there is still an inflow of supply from wholesalers and there are some agencies that distribute to business complexes and owners early in the morning or evening.

‘Ofcourse, there is occasional checking at business establishments, but that being said unless the inflow-supply and manufacturing is stopped, the ban of single-use plastic to make it a reality is far reaching’, he said.

He went on to share that customers do not bring shopping bags and when they buy essential commodities and rations in bulk, “we can’t help but give them the plastic bags to carry their bought items to reach home as ‘thonga’ (paper bags) cannot hold huge quantities or heavy goods”.

Another businessman, Raj  shared he is reluctant to use plastics but is compelled to use it as  there are customers who come to buy good goods without bags and ask for the plastic carry bags.

They are unwilling to purchase other carry bags, he said, adding that if plastic bags are not provided, the customers don’t buy from the shop.

In this regard, he pointed out that it should be everyone’s responsibility to tackle this menace, and if the customers do not demand it, the business community is willing to oblige to the government’s order.

 “Even when we wrap the fruits and vegetables on newspapers and ‘thonga’, our customers are not willing to get the goods unless we give them plastic bags to carry, so being marginalised section of business community, not having proper places to set up our business but striving on the kindness of the passer by, we are compelled to provide what they (customers) ask for in order to sell our products and make our ends meet”, a street vendor said.

She also added that some customers carry their own shopping bags and refuse to accept vegetables and other items in plastic bags, “which also eases us from being caught or fined.”

It may be mentioned that the ban on single-use items was in sync with a notification issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of last year announcing the ban on “manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities” with effect from July 1, 2022.

No dearth of SUP suppliers

There is no dearth of wholesalers and other agencies for the business community to get the banned plastic goods, while some are even delivering the items at the doorstep of the business establishments during odd hours, the shopkeepers shared.

Deep, who runs a grocery store, said that unless the manufacturing stops or strict checking is imposed on transport, plastics will keep surfacing, adding that despite routine checking, every shop keeps the banned items either in a godown or elsewhere.

It may be mentioned that the Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) had imposed ban on plastic and polystyrene (thermocol) plates, trays, containers, cups, bowls and cutlery; earbuds with plastic sticks, ice cream plastic sticks, plastic sticks for candies, plastic balloon holders, polystyrene-made (thermocol) decorations, plastic carry bags, thin plastic sheets, transparent packaging and plastic film packaging used for food items, sweet boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packets.

As reported earlier by this newspaper, the Kohima District Task Force (DTF) for implementation of the ban has fixed a penalty for defaulters not complying with the government’s order on banned identified single-use plastic (SUP) items in both the rural and urban areas of the district.

It will penalise the business establishments/defaulters found selling/using the banned identified SUP items with INR 1000 for the first offence, INR 5000 for second offence and INR 10,000 with cancellation of license for the third offence.

KMC shortlists three firms

Meanwhile, in a new development, KMC has also shortlisted three firms — ZubZub; Avantika Associate Private Limited and Green League — who had responded to the expression of interest for outsourcing of Kohima Solid Waste Management.

The KMC stated that it aims to reform, improve and achieve a sustainable waste management strategy for the entire city and also strive to improve cleanliness beyond the city through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) outsourcing model.

The project focuses on outsourcing the core activities to a component private party through decentralised collection, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of waste, while retaining the regulatory functions of the municipality.

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Sep 18, 2022 9:52:40 pm