…And plastic garbage heaps continue to grow in Himachal
Dharamsala: A complete ban on use of polythene bags and plastic disposable items like plastic glasses, plates etc. by the government of Himachal Pradesh and collection of fine by the panchayats on throwing garbage in the open might be two effective steps in the right direction, but, alas, both steps are being implemented in a wrong way.
In district Kangra, the imposition of fine by the panchayats has given rise to a new problem. Earlier people used to throw garbage in the open, either near the roadside or on some usual garbage dumping site. After some days this garbage was burnt in order to dispose it off. But since the order against throwing of garbage was been passed by the Himachal government, and people in rural areas were asked to dig holes in their own homes for garbage disposal, it has become a huge problem. Most of the people are unwilling to do so. Reasons being how many holes would one dig in his/her home since now a days very few chunks of open space are available in one’s house, even in rural areas. Secondly, it’s a burdensome exercise. So the people have started throwing more and more garbage on mountain slopes and in forests, thus polluting the natural water sources and also affecting the fertility of land.
Adding to the problems is the ban on polythene usage. Although the ban is in the interest of the state and its people, the way of implementing it is improper as no alternate provision was made before this sudden ban. All politicians suddenly started supporting the ban and rallying around in support of the ban, without a proper thought.
Though they say that “we have banned polythene”, the poor chaps have forgotten that daily-use items like milk, bread, chips, mineral water bottles etc. all come either directly packed in hazardous & non-degradable plastic or its by-products. So the situation now is that people being afraid of the ban throw away these items at far flung places and in water sources so that they don’t get caught throwing them even in garbage bins.
The right way to dispose off garbage and non-degradable waste is by simply installing dustbins in every nook and corner of the state , so that people do not throw the waste in natural sources. Moreover, there should be two kind of garbage bins, one for collecting plastic & metal and the second one for organic waste viz vegetables, fruits & household waste. Perhaps more recycling plants should be set up and better garbage collection mechanism developed.
Use of plastic waste for tarring the roads is an appreciable step and buying plastic waste from the local bodies would provide the necessary funds to make the whole exercise financially viable for them. Decomposing organic waste into manure could prove a blessing in disguise for the rural people, who could use it in their fields.