The Darjeeling municipality is expected to take up the matter at the Chairman-in-Council meeting on Friday and may announce the total ban on the use of plastics, including carry bags and sachets, later this week. While the tourists will be warned, the locals may be penalised if found violating the ban.
“The use of plastics is also responsible for the incidents of landslides in the hills. When plastics, which are non-degradable, are used and thrown in the hills they are not disposed off properly and start piling up. Since plastics are non-cohesive and non-adhesive, soils remain loose. Therefore slight rain, vibration or even a feeble earthquake causes a landslide,” said Sadhan K Ghosh, Professor at the Centre for Quality Management System in Jadavpur University.
According to the authorities of Darjeeling municipality, the previous attempts of enforcing the ban had failed since people from the grassroots level were not involved in it.
The amount of penalty is yet to be ascertained. The idea is to start with Darjeeling and then take it to other hill towns, like Kalimpong and Kurseong.
The municipality is in talks with the police to chalk out a legal plan of action. NGO like Janmukti
Citizen’s Welfare Organization, comprising civic officials, businessmen and merchants and Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) — a wing of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) — have been entrusted with the job of stopping the use of plastic.
“We will be passing a resolution to ban plastics carry bags and even the sachets of gutka, pan masala. An Anti Littering Act will also be formulated,” said Pemba Tshering, Chairman of Darjeeling municipality.
It’s not for the first time that the ban on plastic has been initiated in the hills. In 2001, a similar ban was announced but it was a short lived one after the Gorkha National liberation Front issued a statement dissociating itself from the ban. In 2006, again the Darjeeling municipality tried to impose the ban on plastic bags less than 50 microns thick but it too failed.
“Plastics have been blocking the drains. Our party has banned the use of plastics up to a certain thickness and is trying hard to ban the use of plastics altogether,” said Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM.
Meanwhile, Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi welcomed the move of banning plastics in the hills. The Governor suggested other hilly regions to emulate the step.
More usage of natural products like hemp, cotton and other sustainable resources. Plastic is part of the space shuttle and American Cars and puts a ton of toxins in the air to build... I'd like to think we could figure out ways to not use plastic at all.
Dear Sirs,There is an alternative to banning plastic, which is not the solution for the short or long term. OXO-BIODEGRADABLE d2w plastic will solve this problem. Manufacturers can use d2w additives to create totally degradable plastic with pre-defined degradation periods of 3-6 months up to 3 years depending on the end use of the product. The material is now widely used in India and is imported through a Company - Luibeg International in Chennai who have an exclusive distribution license to import the products. The beauty of the additive is that manufacturers will not have to change existing machinery or extrusion facilities. See http://luibeg.blogspot.com The additives are all fully tested and certified and provide the total solution to plastic waste and pollution. Banning plastic manufacture only adds to the problem by closing down business and making people unemployed and yet, the plastic will always be there. Degrade the plastic and everyone will be happy.