Blanket Ban On Plastic Unlikely By Oct 2 In Guwahati
GUWAHATI: As the central government is likely to impose a country-wide ban on single use plastic from October 2 onwards, Guwahati, too, is gearing up for the same. However, a blanket ban on plastic seems unlikely by that time, said officials.
It is to be mentioned that as per reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch the campaign with a ban on as many as six single-use plastic items on October 2. These include plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets.
Biswajit Pegu, deputy commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) district, told G Plus that the authorities are in the process of banning plastic.
“Awareness activities are being taken up by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and by October 2, we have a plan to stop using plastic. Since it is a little difficult to ban plastic altogether because it will take some time for people’s habits and attitudes to change, we have planned to go slowly about it step by step,” he said.
The DC added that the first step will be to create awareness among people themselves that they should stop using plastic, especially the one-time use plastic. “We are trying to target the people who are the actual users of plastic. There has to be a behavioural change among the people,” mentioned Pegu.
Officials also informed that they will also take steps against the manufacturers as well as distributers of plastic which is less than 50 microns. However, the officials said that it would become impossible to differentiate between plastic which is less than and higher than 50 microns.
“For this, we are engaging technical people who would develop a mechanism to find out if the plastic is within the permissible limit or not. We are in line with the Prime Minister’s vision and will try to limit the usage of plastic as much as possible,” mentioned the DC.
Talking about introducing alternatives to plastic in the face of the ban, authorities said that they are yet to take any decision regarding the same.
As per a report published on the eve of World Environment Day in 2018, Guwahati generates 37,000 kgs of plastic waste every day - about 12.37 percent of the entire state’s production.
According to the report, compiled coinciding with the theme of last year’s Environment Day, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” by a Guwahati-based NGO called Environ, Assam produces 2.99 lakh kgs of plastic waste every day.
This means that the city will generate about 13,505 tonnes of plastic waste this year. This has increased almost seven times over the last 14 years from 1,825 tonnes in 2014.
Due to the lack of a proper sewerage system in Guwahati dedicated to cater to garbage that also contains plastic, most of the plastic wastes that otherwise could be recycled, get wasted.
Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) commissioner Debeswar Malakar told G Plus that the municipal body will begin organising awareness campaigns in all 31 municipal wards of the city from September 21.
“We will also hold meetings of all the self-help groups under NULM and they will be briefed about the activities which will be undertaken by them,” said Malakar.
He added that apart from this, they will also hold a meeting with plastic wholesalers and will try to persuade them to stop selling these items.
Guwahatians call for ban on all forms of plastic
On the other hand, Guwahatians have made a case for banning all forms of plastic and not only limit to the six mentioned items.
While many have lauded the government’s decision, they feel that plastic packaging of various every-day utilities should also be checked.
A Guwahati resident also pointed out that the government should also give a thought to the alternatives which can be used in place of plastic to make the ban completely successful. Others felt that it should be followed and enforced strictly by the authorities.
“Why is there still distinction? All types of plastic should be banned, from building materials to our food packaging,” said Auro Sangma, a city resident.
Further Deep Kalita mentioned, “Please try to ban plastic wrapped chocolates, chips, toffees and all other items too, which are a bigger contributors of single use plastics. Only polythene used by vegetable vendors doesn't create pollution. Those chips, chocolate plastic too create pollution.”
Another local said that the state government must take steps to shut-down all plastic manufacturing companies to control the usage of plastic.