When we talk about the growing problem of waste in the major towns and cities, there is a need to look at what kind of waste make up a significant amount that go to the disposal sites. Our drains are often clogged with discarded plastic waste. Landfill sites are filled with it. Even our pristine forests are littered with plastic waste of kinds and kinds. Our efforts repeatedly to ban plastic bags failed.

According to some reports, Thimphu alone produces more than 50 tonnes of plastic waste every day. In the future, with population growth, we can only expect plastic waste to grow. If we fail to put in place appropriate and timely solutions to the kind of waste we are increasingly generating, we might lose the little window of opportunity to deal with environment pollution and health of the people. Plastic waste can have severe impact on agriculture production and aquatic lives.

It may be difficult to ban plastic bags altogether even with smarter alternatives we now have, but we can certainly reduce its availability. Urging the shoppers to bring their own bags will go a long way in limiting the use of plastic bags. It takes only genuine personal initiative from individuals. Our society is more educated and environment conscious today than we were some decades ago.

Early this week, Samdrupjongkhar Thromde and regional offices signed a memorandum of understanding to work towards making Samdrupjongkhar a plastic free city in the country. It is a bold and commendable decision. The thromde tshogde has gone to the extent of banning the use and sale of plastic products at vegetable market. The only problem seems to be lack of monitoring.

If all other dzongkhags follow Samdrupjongkhar’s lead, we can gradually wean ourselves off plastic bag and products that constitute the biggest waste and threat to our environment.