Deadline to ban one time use plastics:
Nagaland October 1. All India October 2. These are the dates which the Government of Nagaland and the Government of India have fixed to ban single use plastics. The interesting question is when will it be the turn for Manipur, or will Imphal just be content to follow the date set by the Centre and rest easy without working out its own timeframe ? Moreover how seriously will the Government at Imphal take the instructions of the Centre and strictly enforce the ban on single use plastics ? This question is important for remember the people of Manipur have seen all the adhoc measures adopted by the State Government to come down on those using plastics, especially plastic carry bags or polythene bags below 50 micron. It was just some time back that reporters were put hard at work to cover stories of law enforcing agencies cracking down on stores found using the said plastic carry bags and it has remained just that, some stories to be covered and to be forgotten after some time. Newspaper houses too are guilty on the count of not following up on the stories later on, and this should more than say that to make the ban on use of plastics effective, the co-operation of everybody is highly needed. Rewind to the first stint in office of the Ibobi Singh Government after the 2002 Assembly elections and those in the newspapers can still recollect how the then Minister of State for Forest and Environment N Biren Singh made it to the front pages of all the newspapers in cracking down on shops found using plastic carry bags of a certain thickness. But the drive ended with no results seen on the clogged drains and waterways of Imphal. Fast forward to 2019 and the same N Biren Singh is today the Chief Minister of Manipur and it is here that one would expect him to have some knowledge on how to crack down on single use plastics.
Plastic carry bags are no doubt convenient, extremely convenient. There is nothing more convenient than to wrap a kilogram of dressed chicken, pork or fish in a polythene bag and carry it home. Same is the case when one has to buy fresh fruits such as grapes or apples or mangoes. Apart from this, the toothbrush that one uses, the comb that one uses, the straw that one uses to sip a drink from the bottle, the soft drinks that come in capacities of one and more litres, the packaged drinking water that comes in bottles and is a blessing to those travelling by train or taking the road on a long journey all centre around plastics. However as experienced worldwide, this convenience can quickly or rather gradually turn into a big threat to the environment as is witnessed presently and hence the decision to ban one time use plastics across the Nation from October 2. Before plastics came to be used on such a large scale one had the paper bags, and it was not uncommon to see young boys and girls making these paper bags, called Chekhao in the local parlance to be sold in the market. A jute carry bag was also a must everytime one went shopping and everything used to be packed in old newspapers or old notebooks. The choice is on the people. Overlook the convenience that plastics may offer for ultimately it should be about the long term impact on planet earth. At the moment three words should suffice, Ban Polythene Bags.