GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - As part of the effort to safeguard the environment against plastic waste, the Bongaigaon district administration has banned single-use plastic in all the State Government offices across the district.
An order to this effect was issued recently by the district administration, Bongaigaon Deputy Commissioner Adil Khan told The Assam Tribune.
�The Government of Assam with a view to ban single-use plastic and safeguard the environment against plastic waste has decided to create awareness against the hazards of single use plastic and explore any sustainable alternative. Accordingly, as per an order issued on October 3, a number of stringent steps have been initiated in the premises of all State Government offices of Bongaigaon district to curb use of single-use plastic. This order has come into force with immediate effect,� Khan said.
He said that the administration has banned all types of plastic carry bags, packets and packaging material of less than 50 microns from the premises of all State Government offices in Bongaigaon district.
�Single-use plastic and water bottles that generate plastic waste are not to be allowed in the office premises, including in meetings and conferences. Instead, multi-use bottles made of metal, glass, bamboo or any other material may be used. Water dispensers with paper cups are to be used for dispensing water during the meetings and other events. Plastic spoons, forks, cups, glasses, ketchup and sauce or any other sachet, straws and plates are strictly no longer allowed in the premises of all the State Government offices of Bongaigaon district. Alternate material which do not cause any serious harm to the environment will have to be used,� clarified Khan.
All material made of thermocol have also been banned in the State Government office premises across the district. The Bongaigaon administration has inaugurated a permanent Plastic Bank which will be open on all days.
�The citizens would be using this permanent plastic bank to deposit their plastic bags and receive plants in return. The Plastic Bank has received very good response from the public,� Khan said.
He added that promotion of cloth bags, as replacement for plastic bags, has the potential to help the local self-help groups (SHGs) and generate employment.
�Apart from making a statement against plastic pollution, the handing out of cloth bags will also lead to an increase in setting up of outlets of cloth bags manufactured by the SHGs and subsequently help to make them self reliant,� observed the Bongaigaon Deputy Commissioner.
The district forest officials in Bongaigaon have started a drive to use the fibrous and soft banana tree bark to store and transport plant saplings.
�It is generally done in black polythene bags, which is not an environment-friendly practice. To ensure 100 per cent ban on even such usage of polythene, the district officials have replaced them with fibrous banana tree bark. The forest officials mentioned that this is a unique and sustainable initiative that would send out a strong message on total ban on usage of plastic,� Khan said.
The district administration had earlier this month launched a campaign titled �Plants for Plastic�.
�The campaign was launched to encourage people to collect and remove plastic and polythene from their houses, commercial establishments and educational institutions. Citizens across the district participated in the event by bringing plastic from their homes and depositing in a Plastic Bank, which was inaugurated during the event. Anyone bringing one kg of plastic was given a free sapling and a cloth bag in return,� Khan said.
Coinciding with the event, the administration had also organised an awareness rally to make the people aware regarding the harmful effects of plastic, besides to urge the citizens to discard plastic and polythene and encourage them to use cloth bags.
The DC participated in the rally and met local vendors and shopkeepers and requested them to immediately stop use and sale of banned plastic items.