Lessons to learn from Nagaland:
Ban on plastics
Nagaland has done it and shown the way. And for once the Government of Manipur need to seriously study if Nagaland can do it then why not here ? That is put a ban on single use plastics. To be effective three months hence, there is a lesson to be learnt and the BJP led Government here should also study the possibility of putting a complete ban on single use plastics in the State. Tough decision, this is what the State needs right now to address the menace posed by the rampant use of plastics everywhere. No doubt plastic is convenient, very convenient. Carrying a kilogram of dressed chicken or fish in a plastic carry bag has never been this convenient, and like everything else plastic too comes with its share of responsibility. That irresponsible mindset is seen in the clogged drains and clogged waterways which stops the free flow of water resulting in localised flooding. The ill effects of plastics on the environment is well known but no one has put in the needed amount of efforts to minimise the use of plastics, especially plastic carry bags which are used to wrap everything from fish, chicken to vegetables. It was not like this always. One just need to recall the earlier days, when it was mandatory for every shopper to carry a bag for buying the day’s grocery. All the vegetables and other items needed for the kitchen used to be carried in the jute carry bags, but this is no longer the case. Once a ban is put on the use of plastic carry bags, then surely one will see the return of jute bags or cloth bags. A ban on single use plastics will surely complement the Green Manipur Mission launched by the Chief Minister recently.
Tough times need tough decisions and this is perhaps the right time for the Government to take a decision to ban single use plastics. Along with the ban, let the citizens be also sensitised to the negative impact of plastics on the environment. And when one talks about the need to ban plastic and plastic carry bags, one is invariably talking about the need to protect the environment. Will not make much sense if the Government turns a blind eye to the large scale deforestation that one sees all over the place. Most of the hills in Manipur today wear a deserted look. The Green Manipur Mission will not have any meaning if large scale deforestation continues without any check. The tree plantation drive taken up inside Kangla, should not be a one day affair but should be a continuous effort to plant more trees and not only inside Kangla. The need of the time is clear. Take up tree plantation but do not just stop there. Nurture each tree till they mature fully. Impose heavy fines on anyone found cutting trees and for this the Government needs to set an example. Let no trees be cut for taking up any development work, such as road widening. Remove the tree and plant it elsewhere, if the said tree stands in the way of the road widening work. Let lessons be learnt from the past, when trees were cut without a second thought. For starters the Government of Manipur may seriously study the model of Nagaland and ban single use plastics.