Plastic ban to return in S/Jongkhar

The thromde is creating awareness before it strictly implements the ban 

Environment: Almost a decade after the ban was imposed Samdrupjongkhar thromde will reinstate the ban that was never lifted on the use of plastic bags, as per the decision of the 13th thromde tshogde.

Members of the thromde tshogde decided the ban must be implemented given the increasing plastic waste in the community.

The thromde has however not yet issued a notification on the ban.

Thromde’s environment officer Pema Chokey said they are creating awareness now so that the notification doesn’t come as a surprise.  The municipality is also working on the penalty amount and studying whether both shopkeepers and customers should be penalized. The trade rules state a person seen using plastic should be fined Nu 500 following two warnings.

Pema Chokey said once the ban is in place, thromde would strictly implement it if it wants to reduce plastic waste mounting in the Samdrupjongkhar landfill, located two kilometres away. Everyday, two trucks dispose about three metric tons of waste.

“We don’t have accurate data to show but based on “eye survey,” and the truck’s capacity, almost 50 percent of waste dumped at the landfill is plastic,” Pema Chokey said. “We recovered almost 60 tons of waste from another landfill in Dewathang during a cleaning campaign and now we have stopped using that landfill.”

Shopkeepers and vegetable vendors have already been informed about the ban and are asked not to give goods in plastic bags. Thromde officials are also going door-to-door to create awareness among the residents.

Pema Chokey said there has been a good response from them but they suggested that customers also needed awareness since a majority visits shops without a bag.

“It’s noticed that when one goes for vegetable shopping, the person returns home with at least 10 plastics,” she said.

The members have also decided to avoid using paper or plastic cups and plates during official meetings and have asked Dratshang to inform visitors to not bring packaged food as offerings.

Most shopkeepers and vegetable vendors welcome the thromde’s decision, but feel this could hamper their business since the customers leave the shop for another when they are asked to bring their own shopping bags.

Another shopkeeper Chimmi said the ban would actually help them cut spending on buying plastic bags from border town where they pay about Nu 180 for a kilogram of plastic.

Vegetable vendors said when they inform customers that they don’t have plastic bags, the customers snap back asking if they are supposed to then carry vegetables in their pockets.

“But some are nice and buy cement or paper bag from us to carry the vegetables,” Dawa, a 60-year-old vegetable vendor said. “It is mostly the literate people who need to be educated because they are the ones who come without a bag.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar

1 reply
  1. logical
    logical says:

    It seems the far away thromde is still haunted by the decade old despotic ghost of Thimphu on mission with the threats of BANNING, FINING, PUNISHING, JAILING and the like business. It is apparent they are incensed against the conveniences of the public when they do not advise or avail better alternative. Either they know no BETTER thing to do in their locality or have nothing better in their version of development for the town and remain occupied with idiotic exercises… Proposing to take waste plastics from public at certain fixed price would be better than considering the option of BANNING!

    Decision to avoid using paper or plastic cups and plates during official meetings and suggesting Dratshang to inform visitors to not bring packaged food as offerings is welcome as this leads to GENUINE practice of ancient religion for those still interested finding it better. We used to engage broad leaves (banana and the like) in the past to cater meals in large public gatherings. The wastes integrate well back to nature….

    If BANNING is the real thirst for demonstration of authority, please explore with banning the import of salt, petrolium, food grains and the like to demonstrate POWER against the public! I say this because plastic can be collected as SCRAP and recycled as raw material to produce more costly and useful product. I read an article in Kuensel about scarcity of plastics required in several quintals daily prepare product for road surfacing that last longer than bitumen.

    Not everything that looks BAD is really bad as what looks good can manifest contrary another moment! We need to see CONSISTENCY of materials we use all through and through to arrive at justifiable and lasting decision for the good of all.

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