• Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Arunachal Pradesh Becoming a Dumping Zone for Single-Use Plastic Materials

On June 5, 2018, to mark World Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India would phase out single-use plastics by 2022. Three years later, on August 12, 2021, a ban on identified single-use plastic items was notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) through the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021. This ban came into force on July 1, 2022.

Appreciating this decision, many state governments have also issued various orders to ban single-use plastic items, and simultaneous inspections have been conducted in the markets.

The order has been strictly implemented in several northeastern states. For instance, in Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, plastic glasses and thermocol plates have been replaced by paper plates and paper cups, which are environmentally friendly. Even small street tea shops now only use paper cups and plates.

However, it seems our state government has taken a more lenient stance on this serious issue. Thermocol plates, made from polystyrene—it is carcinogenic (cancer causing ) substance when exposed to heat—are still openly sold in the markets. Plastic glasses of various sizes are also readily available, posing significant environmental threats. These items, which take between 20 to 500 years to decompose, continue to be used despite the availability of multiple substitutes like paper plates, bagasse (sugarcane waste) plates, Areca leaves plates etc and paper cups.

Fortunately, there are no manufacturers of these harmful products in Arunachal Pradesh. However, the state has become a dumping ground for such items from neighboring states like West Bengal and Assam, which import their products here due to the lack of strict monitoring and enforcement of the ban.

I hope that on this Environment Day, the state government will take decisive action to protect our state from the detrimental effects of plastic. The government must ensure that the ban on single-use plastics is strictly enforced, thereby safeguarding our environment and ecosystem.

Let’s keep our state safe and green forever.

By Lobom Tamin

The writer is Lobom Tamin, working as a District Library & Information Officer, Bomdila, and also in charge of DIPRO, Bomdila.

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