With the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Samdrupjongkhar thromde and regional offices yesterday, the thromde will now work towards making Samdrupjongkhar a plastic free city in the country.

The MoU is based on an inter-agency coordination meeting held on May 15, 2017, where all the regional offices have agreed to ban the use of plastic plates, cups and cutlery during all official meetings and gatherings.

Samdrupjongkhar thrompon, Karma Sherab Thobgyal, said the thromde tshogde has banned the use and sale of plastic products at vegetable market and in shops but could not implement strictly because it is difficult to monitor. “Everyone was supposed to carry their own bags when they go shopping.”

He said that with the signing of MoU, they can at least not use plastic plates and cups during meetings and gatherings. “Samdrupjongkhar will be the first plastic-free town in the country and we commit that we will strictly restrict its usage,” he said.

The thrompon said it is easy to ban the usage and selling of plastic products but they need support from all stakeholders. “Shopkeepers should form committee or team and inform people not to sell plastic products.”

Thromde officials said that when they informed the shopkeepers about the ban, they were asked for an alternative. “SJI will supply areca nut products from Pemathang in Samdrupcholing drungkhag and Gelephu.”

Thromde also signed a MoU with Samdrupjongkhar Initiative (SJI). The SJI’s programme director, Cheku Dorji said plastic products would be replaced with areca nut products. “We are also going to buy from India if we cannot meet the demand.”

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar