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Nagaland

Officials suggest total ban on single-use plastic in Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: Jun 05, 2019 12:26 am
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Dimapur, June 4 (EMN): Development authorities in Nagaland have suggested that the state’s government ban ‘plastic’ regardless of its make or quality. The government should also take effective action and consider alternatives to plastic. The need for an alternative to replace plastic bags is one of the most urgent concerns in the state’s environmental action since the movement against plastic pollution began.

A seminar about waste management in Nagaland was conducted at the directorate of Rural Development, on June 3 in Kohima, during which said statements were made by senior officers.

Speaking at the event, the principal secretary for Urban Development Abhishek Singh said “banning of single-use plastic is not for following any directive, but it is for our own lives, land, environment and for the future of our children.”

Calling plastic pollution a global problem, Singh said the main source of plastic pollution is from cities and over-dependence on packaged food. Plastic was not a problem some years ago the way it now is. This is a ‘sign of consumerism,’ he said.

‘Plastic’ needs to be banned irrespective of its thickness or make because nobody knows what 50 micron is, Singh reminded. The senior officer expressed the need to do away with mineral water bottles as well, and to set up large water purifiers and containers in establishments and offices. They are cost effective too, he said.

Urban Development official stated further pointed to biomedical waste as another big problem, which can be a “criminal offence” if disposed improperly.

‘If disposal is done near human settlement, the waste can percolate down the water table and cause serious health issues. Each one should come out with innovative ideas and solutions in order to tackle this problem,’ he said.

A retired senior government officer, Thangi Mannen spoke at the event too. During the Clean Himalaya Campaign, she said, the volume of waste that were found were consisted mostly of plastic bags, packaged bottles, and “guthka” (spiced and mixed tobacco products) waste.

Mannen expressed concern on the findings because sale of tobacco products are banned in the state. Mannen also called for decisive action and consider alternatives to solve plastic menace.

Mannen also referred to plastic bag quality. She said plastic bags that are under 50 microns are to be banned in accordance with the rule set by the government but there is no mechanism to identify the thickness.

The manufacturers are making such types and dealers are selling all kinds of plastics. The only solution is to totally ban single-use plastic in the state, she opined.

Citing waste in all the districts piling up, Mannen appealed to the Urban Development department to replicate “bio-stabilisation” in all the districts similar to Dimapur’s, to eradicate waste.

According to the former officer, ‘people are willing to do something to reduce waste.’

“Hence, the government rules and notification should reach the people and also give support at its level.” She suggested strengthening the locals at the community level, especially the ward and village council, and trained them how to reduce waste.

Mannen said that the government departments should be the first ones to set an example in following the rules in reducing the waste and to manage it.

Also, the member-secretary of the Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB), Rusovii John, gave an overview of the various waste management rules and National Green Tribunal orders. Under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, seven rules were created for all the states with clear standards for appropriate segregation, storage, handling, transport and disposal, he said.

The NPCB official highlighted waste management rules; duties and responsibilities of deputy commissioners, secretaries in-charge; local authorities and village council; responsibilities of dealers; duties of the state government’s health department; annual reports to the pollution control board; responsibilities of producers; and reduction in the use of hazardous substances in manufacturing electrical equipments.

The deputy director for Urban Development Tarachu Fithu gave a presentation on the National Integrated Waste Management Policy of 2019, and an action plan and strategies for effective implementation.

 

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By EMN Updated: Jun 05, 2019 12:26:48 am