Govt’s decision to replace plastic bags takes back seat

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The decision of the state government to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly hand woven bags called “Pla Iew” and “Sla” or leaves has taken a backseat due to want of manufacturers and suppliers. The use of such environment friendly bags/leaves came in the heels of rampant rivers and stream water pollution in the city and the effort of the state government to turn the city into a cent percent “no plastic zone.”

“Nobody has come forward, so far. As of now such bags are manufactured in a very small scale,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shillong Municipal Board. “We will issue licenses to whoever wants to manufacture such bags,” said the CEO adding that the leaves meant for packing food items comes from the rural areas. “There is no large scale production and so there is no volume of business,” he said.

The move to use environmental friendly bags was to replace the plastic bags called “Pla Iew” and “Sla” or leaves. The former is hand woven whereas the latter is used for packing food items.

Many food items were supposed to be sold in these leaves which are environmentally acceptable. Though the use of such environmental friendly bags was intended rightly, the Urban Affairs Minister in the recent past was determined to implement the plastic laws of the union government in letter and spirit in the state.

Besides this, there is large scale collection of various forms of used plastics in the city. Rag pickers are seen collecting used plastics from drains, streams, bins and elsewhere.

It has been seen that various city drains and streams including the Umiam Lake are infested with child labourers and rag pickers who engage themselves in collecting these plastics and send them for recycling in Guwahati and elsewhere.

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