I remember the days when you could have used plastic bags so freely in the small and beautiful state of Sikkim. Like any other place in India, every purchase you make, you get it in plastic bags. It was very useful .Yes you are at ease but someone somewhere pays the price. In this case it was the environment, the cool, serene, green and peaceful nature that was at stake. Sikkim being a hilly state is dotted by countless small and big waterfalls. The situation was so worse that you can see the debris made of these plastic bags flowing in these falls and floating in the mighty rivers of Sikkim. The scene was just unbearable, there were numerous landslides and clogging of water seepage into ground by plastic was one of main reason. Yes things go off hand, worse when you play with the rules of nature. People of this state depend on earnings from tourism industry to a large extent. Now think will you like to visit a place for your holidays which is full of garbage and waste dumps here and there. No not at all.
Sikkimese were fortunate enough that their conscious government acted in time. They showed that they care for Mother Nature and respect the environmental diversity of this Himalayan state.
The law came in form of ban on use of plastic bags and effort to clean up the state of all plastic debris. No wander it became the plastic free state of India, that is a great achievement indeed in the age of so ruthless and careless citizens. There were raids on big retail shops to small neighborhood grocery store and all stock of plastic were confiscated and done away with. Not only that they even banned all those Gutkas and pan masala which contribute to the plastic menace in form of litters and hence saved people from the unhealthy habits.
So what was the substitute, off course the paper bags. A whole new industry of paper bags grew to replace the plastic bag market. This move was a welcome by the environment conscious people of Sikkim. So don’t get surprised when the road side hoardings advise/ask you not to carry any plastic bags which are banned, next time you visit the state. Today if you are even a bit conscious about your environment you will feel proud that a small state has made it possible. Sikkim has not only saved its nature from deterioration but also set an example for others to follow.
“If someone can do it I too can” that should be the attitude, if we want to save our environment from disastrous suffocation of plastic. It is not only in our interest but also for the generation yet to come. A complete renounce of plastic usage is possible only when each one of us will think in urgency that this is the time to act. Each of us needs to do our best at our own level to fight the menace. Here are a few tips you can adopt:
•1. Refrain from using plastic bags when you go to shop next time. Refuse plastic bags when you really don’t need them.
•2. Ask the store for Paper bag instead of plastic bag.
•3. Buy yourself a reusable bag made of jute or cloth, and carry it every time you go shopping even to neighborhood grocery store.
•4. Reusing packaging material of your previous purchase. It not only saves money but also energy.
•5. Go for minimal, avoid extra packaging, it will save you money and lot of landfill space.
•6. Work locally and globally to discourage the use of plastic bags. Create awareness in and around you.