Correspondent DIMAPUR, Jan 1 - Growing population and an increase in the number of shops using plastic products are the main reasons behind the rampant use of plastic substances in Nagaland, according to a study conducted by the Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB).
A plastic manufacturing unit in Dimapur.
The survey was conducted on manufacturing and recycling units, scrap dealers and households recently.
The NPCB said a considerably large amount of plastic bags are found on the streets, public places and markets of Kohima. The study found that out of the six plastic-manufacturing units in the State, four use virgin plastic materials and the other two use a mixture of both virgin and waste plastic to manufacture water storage tanks and plastic ropes.
The survey of 17 scrap dealers found that they buy the plastic scrap from local ragpickers and other waste through door-to-door collection. Majority of the plastic waste collected by scrap dealers were found to be polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, buckets, containers, shampoo bottles, cosmetic tubes, toys, chairs, jugs, grocery containers, CDs and jerrycans.
From the survey of 133 households, it was found that 100 used plastic bags excessively. It also found that the use of plastic bags is high among Dimapur residents. It attributed widespread use of plastic bags to easy availability, lack of alternative materials and light weight.
The survey said 80 per cent of plastic users dispose of their plastic waste in open dumping areas, while the remaining throw it into community bins. Only three per cent responded that they bury their plastic, the survey found. It said 90 per cent of the respondents segregate their waste at home.
According to the survey, 53 per cent of the respondents said newspapers are effective in creating awareness about plastic waste management. However, 30 per cent said the social media is more effective.
The survey called for more efforts to mobilise residents to take action against post-use disposal and utilisation of plastic bags.
The NPCB survey also highlighted some success stories on plastic waste management in Nagaland. It cited the plastic bitumen road as an innovation, plastic waste management at Sechu Zubza in Kohima district and awareness drives carried out by educational institutions and other NGOs.
The NPCB said the plastic bitumen road technique was first experimented by it in 2009 on its office premises. An NGO, LiFE, in partnership with the Dimapur Municipal Council in 2017, replicated the technology later.
According to the NPCB, another success story of waste management, especially of plastic waste, was that of a women’s self-help group at Sechu Zubza.
The women, who are farmers, housewives and small business owners, collect waste along the National Highway 29 twice or thrice a week. They segregate the waste and send it to Dimapur to be sold to scrap dealers.
All churches in the area also adhere to a common “non-disposal plastic and paper plates policy”. The Sechu Zubza Youth Organisation also ordered that only 40 micron-plus plastic should be used and prohibited the use of plastic and paper plates during any function.