On plastic waste: Step back to move ahead

[ Jumge Pale, Kino Tufan, Ravi Sangyu, Tai Nima & Ngurang Pepu ]

When the state government launched the Hamara Arunachal Abhiyan on 2 October this year and announced the ban on single-use plastic, some sections of the society lauded the step, but at the same time some castigated it.
Since customers as well as shopkeepers largely rely on the use of polythene bags, they questioned the government’s move. The government had made the announcement without providing any alternative. Even when video clips of meat vendors using leaves to wrap meat in went viral, some individuals pointed out that excessive use of leaves was going to harshly affect the environment.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s estimate from 2012, India generated nearly 26,000 tons of plastic.
While plastic products are non-biodegradable and adversely affect our health and the environment, they have their advantages. They are not only available at cheap rates, but are waterproof, light and easily accessible. Plastic has become a significant part of life, especially during shopping, when packing items, etc, and the dependence of the people on polythene bags in their day-to-day life has also increased.
Considering all the aspects, the ban on plastic or polythene bags is a welcome step, and individuals need to come up with remedial measures to control the use of polythene bags by replacing them with cotton or jute bags.
Various countries have adopted numerous policies to control the drawbacks generated by plastic. Rwanda, for instance, is aiming to be the world’s first plastic–free country, and its initiatives are being carried out effectively. The citizens also have a major role in it, and the people of Rwanda are dedicatedly making efforts to control plastic use.
The Indian government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has managed to instill a sense of cleanliness in the minds of the people, but putting it into practice is another task on its own. A glaring and failing example closer home is the dumping site located beside the Chimpu-Hollongi road in Itanagar.
While the government will have to make efforts to fill the gaps, the people, too, must participate to achieve the goal of a safer and cleaner environment, even if it means shifting to the old way of carrying your own shopping bags.