One of the newly installed ‘Plastic Bank’ outside Viliethie complex, Kohima. (Morung Photo)
Morung Express News
Kohima | November 14
As Nagaland thrives to tackle the menace of plastic, the struggles of living a plastic free life is still challenging for many. The use of plastic which has been ingrained in the everyday lives of all, still pose to be a challenge despite the hazards and harmful impact on human lives and the entire ecosystem.
Taking the extra mile, the Kohima Smart City Development Limited (KSCDL) has recently installed ‘plastic banks’ in 'critical locations' of Kohima with the hope to instill awareness on the need to segregate and recycle plastic waste. Four plastic banks were set up at Razhü Point, BOC, Viliethie Complex and High School, the critical locations in the capital, according to the Mission, with ten more to be set up across strategic locations in Kohima.
“Post the plastic ban in the state, KSCDL had installed these ‘banks’ primarily for collection of plastic bottles. With the expectation that the public will start inculcating a habit for safe disposal of plastic bottles in particular, this initiative was started,” says Kovi Meyase, Chief Executive Officer, KSCDL informing that the remaining six will be installed before December 1.
The banks are primarily and specifically installed to collect waste plastic bottles which will, in turn, be shredded and recycled. These wastes will be emptied twice a week and treated at the Solid Waste Management (SWM) facility at Lerie.
“The recycled/shredded plastic will be used in road construction for which KSCDL is already in touch with the PWD,” mentioned Meyase.
“We have become so dependent on plastic and so it is difficult to ignore or avoid them easily. First, attitudinal change is necessary for behavioral change,” Viketuno Hiekha, member of the Green Team Kohima under Kohima Smart City. While the urgency in tackling plastic pollution is yet to be understood by citizens, Hiekha asserted that with the gradual invasion of plastic in the food chain, understanding the change in the food chain becomes very important. “Once it affects our food chain, the survival of human beings as well as the bio diversity is at risk,” says Hiekha.
With many households still dependent on single use plastics for utility, Hiekha rues that the adverse impact of plastic is not understood seriously in the collective psyche. “Single used plastics has made things easy and why we chose plastics over the alternatives is because the latter requires a little of one's effort more the former,” points out Hiekha.
Part of the Green Team Kohima which is extensively involved in cleaning up the town areas and rivers filled by single used plastic, Hiekha shared that Nagas are no less than any other community across the world in contributing towards climate crisis and global heating. Banning on single used plastics cannot be looked at from one perspective alone. “Failure on the part of public in disposing these single used plastics has in a way called for the ban. Learning and understanding these single used plastics, its purpose, its effects and its purpose is important,” expresses Hiekha.
With the installations of the plastic banks, Hiekha is optimistic that the citizens of Kohima will be able to make proper use of it.
While the feedbacks on the installation has been positive, Hiekha cited the indifference of citizens who continue to randomly dump whatever wastes are in their hands in the plastic banks, therefore there is a wider need for intense awareness.
For Meyase, the challenges are many. From an administrative perspective, wider advocacy and sensitisation from related government departments and agencies are required to evoke favourable response from the public.
“Adequate fund provisions should be apportioned for the purpose so that the advocacy is taken up on a war footing with greater vigour and persistence,” says Meyase. Habits and attitudes will have to change to attain any level of achievement in tackling this menace, and for this, Meyase notes that ‘citizen engagement is the crux.’