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Polythene to be banned in nurseries

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, Dec 29 - The State forest department is planning to ban use of polythene in its nurseries. The ban may also extend to private nurseries. Official sources said the department is exploring use of alternatives for which an EoI (expression of interest) will be floated.

There are around 120 nurseries under the forest department of which some 90 are under CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority).

Four to five crore seedlings are raised in these nurseries and 80 per cent of them are done in polythene bags.

�We are now looking for alternatives to replace the polythene. A decision has been taken by the department in this regard. We want to replace the polythene by biodegradable alternatives in all the nurseries in about a year�s time,� a senior official told The Assam Tribune.

Root trainers are used in some nurseries. Initial cost of the root trainers is high, but in the long run the investment could worth it.

�The department is also looking at the possibility of using gunny bags or starch bags. Earthen pots cost more and there are difficulties in their transportation,� the official said, adding that the department is looking to revise the entire methodology of the nurseries.

Last month, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had written to the states to ban use of polythene in the nurseries as part of its vision to make the country plastic-free by 2022.

The Central government observed that nurseries under the state forest departments use polythene bags of various sizes for raising seedlings of plants for afforestation and other activities.

The Centre asked the states to ensure that use of polythene bags in the nurseries is dispensed with and alternatives are explored for raising seedlings.

�This may be carried out with immediate effect so that all the nurseries of the State Forest Department are made plastic-free by the next planting season,� the Union Environment Ministry said.

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