Our Trash, Our Problem - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, July 11, 2024

Our Trash, Our Problem

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 18, 2024 10:15 pm

Last week, Nagaland woke up to disturbing visuals of the famed Doyang dam being reduced to a location akin to a dumping site. As photos of the trash-ridden reservoir flooded social media platforms, triggering outrage from the people, the state government took notice of the situation and initiated steps to clean up the waste, which consisted mostly of plastic items. The district administration of Wokha, assisted by volunteers from student bodies, nearby villages and NGOs, completed the Clean Doyang Mission in just five days. It was commendable. Such prompt action is vital to saving marine lives as well as averting further pollution of the water and environmental hazards. However, it’s just a one-time solution. What is needed is a permanent solution to the menace. For this, the authorities need to find out the source of the debris and how it landed at the reservoir. Meanwhile, it seemed like it was not a simple case of trash being dumped there. The recent Remal cyclone-induced heavy rain is said to have brought down the waste from as far as Kohima and Phek districts. As history can repeat itself, it can be expected that trash will continue to accumulate at the dam during the rainy season until and unless concrete steps are taken by the authorities concerned and people living in the upstream areas. Ironically, it has been years since the government of Nagaland banned single-use plastic items in the state. The scenic site, which is one of the top tourist attractions in the state, is a sorry sight today. It is our making. It speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the government’s regulation and the response of the public to the noble cause.

According to the UN Environment Programme, about 11 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, mostly via rivers, on top of the existing estimated 200 million metric tons. At this rate, plastic pollution will soon cause irreparable damage to marine ecosystems and pose a severe threat to living organisms, including human beings. But the good news is that whether or not we allow plastics to pollute our environment is in our hands. It’s time we help ourselves by not littering the streets, forest and open spaces; stop disposing garbage into rivers, streams and drains, as solid waste eventually lands up in water bodies like lakes and oceans through rivers. Simple measures like enhancing solid waste management practices, proper segregation of garbage at source, recycling of plastic items, etc. can go a long way in curbing environmental pollution, which in turn will improve public health. To bring about a permanent solution to this menace, everybody should be a part of it.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 18, 2024 10:15:58 pm
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