GMC organizes a workshop on the ban on Single-Use of Plastic

Gangtok, 16th June 2022 (IPR): Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC), in association with the State Pollution Control Board Sikkim (SPCB) and Urban Development Department (UDD), organised a workshop cum awareness programme on the ban on Single-Use of Plastic at Thakurbari Complex, MG Marg, Gangtok, today.
Mayor GMC, Shri Nell Bahadur Chettri was the chief guest of the event. Also present were Deputy Mayor GMC, Smt Tshering Palden Bhutia, Councillors GMC (East), Chairman SPCB, Shri Thomas Chandy, Member Secretary, SPCB Dr Gopal Pradhan, Special Secretary, Urban Development Department, Smt Roshni Rai, Commissioner GMC Shri Hem Kumar Chettri, Joint Director SPCB, Smt Kusum Gurung, trade licence holders, hawkers, wholesalers, executive member of the chamber of commerce, travel association members, hoteliers, members of mainline drivers association, officers and staff of UDD and State Pollution Control Board.
Shri Nell Bahadur Chettri applauded the State Pollution Control Board, Urban Development Department and Gangtok Municipal Corporation for organising the programme to spread awareness against plastic use in society. He expressed his gratitude to all the members of various associations present and informed them about the ban on plastic. He also reminded everyone about health, and environmental hazards and emphasised the role of community participation in managing plastic waste.
He stated that many individuals try to destroy plastic products by burning them, and dumping them on the ground which contributes greatly to air, water and land pollution, which poses a major hazard to the environment. He further added that such an awareness programme is conducted to mobilize local associations for public support and participation in the successful implementation of the ban on plastics which entails SUPs as well. He also mentioned that given their lightweight, single-use plastic materials have been observed to easily travel through air and water, causing the sewage and drainage systems to choke and leading to problems of water logging.
He appealed to the councillors to work in tandem with allied departments and different associations to make Sikkim a plastic-free State and to educate the masses on segregation and safe waste disposal also. He stressed the need to eradicate waste management as the disposal of the various wastes that we generate has become our most urgent and difficult public problem. Further, he stated that the primary focus is to sensitise people on the prohibition of the use of plastic and asked all to follow the guidelines along with active community participation which will have a direct bearing on an efficient ban on plastic usage in the State.
Lastly, he requested propagating awareness against plastic by initiating action-based activities and campaigns for adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle and reminded that every citizen should accept their responsibility to identify alternatives to single-use plastic in society.
Dr Gopal Pradhan in his address welcomed all the dignitaries and the members present in the programme. He said that today’s awareness event is to send a message that the rampant use of plastics in the State needs to be curbed in order to preserve our natural resources and to generate a sense of responsibility towards the environment. He stated that every retailer or street vendors selling or providing commodities in plastic carry bags or multi-layered packaging or plastics sheets which are not manufactured or labelled or marked in accordance with the Responsibility Rule 14 under PWM, Rules 2016 shall be liable to pay fines as specified under the bye-laws of the local bodies.
Further, he said that consumerism is increasing due to the needs and demands of humans therefore, as responsible citizens we must follow the guidelines on the ban of the use of plastics as it is non-degradable and causes various hazardous waste that is harmful to humans as well as to the environment.
He urged all the hotel associations members and taxi associations members to spread the message of the ban on the use of plastics to the visiting tourists in the State and further informed all stakeholders to dispose of their plastic products by 30th June 2022 and from the 1st of July 2022, the ban on the use of plastic will be implemented in the State.
Speaking at the event Smt Roshni Rai briefed about the ban on the use of Single-Use Plastic SUPs. She said that it is undeniable that plastics are alarmingly ubiquitous, and it is also an unfortunate fact that they present a colossal threat to the ecology. She said that the Urban Development Department is taking all appropriate steps to combat the State’s rising plastic waste. She stated that single-use plastics are those plastic products that have one-time use before they are thrown away and are often not disposed of properly or recycled and therefore remain in the landfills releasing toxic fumes and harmful gases.
She further said the plastic ban is a welcome measure to protect the environment and urged all the allied departments, and associations to follow the detailed advisory to take up a range of activities including large-scale cleaning and blogging drives, with special emphasis on plastic waste collection and a ban on plastic with the participation of all citizens.
Lastly, she said that awareness, enforcement and alternatives are the three supporting policies that will achieve the intended goal of completely phasing out single-use plastics in the State in a timely manner.
Earlier, an open house discussion was chaired by Shri Thomas Chandy where all present association members actively participated in the discussion, exchanging their views about the negative impacts of plastics. Shri Thomas Chandy practically shared the banned plastic products and displayed them on the forum and gave his valuable input as to how one can minimize the use of plastics.
It is to be noted that India will implement a nationwide ban on all single-use plastic (SUP). Notifying the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has prohibited the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags, plastic sticks for balloons, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron and stirrers.
In short, it encompasses SUP items with low utility and high littering potential.
The main objective of the programme was to inform all not to use plastic, but instead use other biodegradable substitutes as environment-friendly alternatives.