Meghalaya’s failed resolution to ban plastic bags

Shillong: Meghalaya has tried not once or twice but repeatedly to ban plastic carry bags but the effort has failed miserably. As a result every drain, stream and river are filled with plastic bags and plastic packages which contain a variety of junk food such as potato chips which are laden with trans-fat but which the younger generation is addicted to.

Environmentalists despair about the manner in which drains get choked and rivers are polluted by garbage which comprises mainly plastic bags and packages of different shapes and sizes. When these are clogged over a long period they emit methane gas which scientists say poisons the environment.

An environmental watchdog that does not wish to be named says school children are the biggest buyers of junk food and also the major polluters because they throw the packets anywhere. “It appears as if the schools don’t teach their students enough of civic sense and the virtues of staying off junk food and if they buy them then to throw the packages in the school dustbins or in their home garbage bags.

A teacher of a leading school, however, refutes this claim by environmentalist and says that most schools do teach their students not to litter but says that she has even seen college students littering the roads and footpaths with plastic bottles in which different juices are now packed.

Those who are deeply concerned about the state of the environment and are in the process of cleaning the rivers Umkhrah and Umshyrpi feel that the Government of Meghalaya should have more spine about implementing what it legislates. “Banning plastics should mean just that. Let’s not quibble about so many micron thick or thin. Look at Sikkim. The Government does what it believes is good for the State and people have to conform,” said an environmental activist.The general feeling even amongst young people is that Meghalaya’s environment cannot deal with the mounds of plastic garbage generated on a daily basis and most of it ending up in rivers and streams.

Plastics have to be banned and we can start with the most prominent ones like chips packets and similar packages that hold grams and biscuits, and oils and what have you. Alternatively the companies that sell these packaged goods should take them back or pay the cost for cleaning up,” said a school teacher.

A college student quipped, “We have to turn this whole plastic garbage stuff into a huge campaign in 2013 and I hope we will succeed. It has to succeed

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