Along with the rest of India, the government of Arunachal Pradesh is joining the effort to ban the use of plastics. The success of any environmental campaign depends on the extent of involvement of all stakeholders and the consistency of the awareness drive. The goal to make Arunachal plastic-free is quite ambitious and calls for sustained efforts at all levels with active public participation. Effective implementation holds the key to the success of the new rules, issued by the Centre recently, on banning the manufacture, sale and use of single-use plastic from 1 July.
Coinciding with the World Environment Day in 2018, India had declared that it would eliminate all single-use plastic (SUP) by 2022. In the past five years, more than 20 states have put in place some form of regulation on plastic use. But their implementation has been patchy and inconsistent. In Arunachal too, in the past, efforts were made by the respective deputy commissioners to try to ban single-use plastics. In the Itanagar Capital Region also, such effort was made in the past, but it somehow failed. The understaffed and poorly-empowered State Pollution Control Board or the cash-strapped municipalities tasked with enforcing the bans have generally not been up to the task. Apart from setting up control rooms to monitor the ban, there is a need to raise awareness among the people and take all stakeholders into confidence to ensure that the desired results are achieved. Unless the people, in particular the market welfare associations, strongly participate, this move will fail.