Shimla: Operation plastic clean up, a week long campaign starting Monday is being attempted in Himachal in which local bodies, youth groups, NGOâ€™s, women groups and eco-clubs have been roped in to collect polythene bags across the state and hand them over to public authorities for proper disposal.
Speaking about the campaign, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said, â€œafter having banned use of polythene bags, the clean up exercise is the next stage of the community driven program.â€
â€œThe objective is to have rid the hills of polythene menace that is degrading the environment, marring the beauty of scenic tourist spots, clogging drainage systems and responsible for much of the pollution of natural water drainage channels, he said.
The drive is being carried out across 56 towns and the about 17,500 villages in the state. The polythene bags collected are slated to be collected by public works department and would be used either for road tarring purposes by mixing it with bitumen or mixed with cement mortar in kilns at the plants, officials of environment department disclosed.
Starting out with enacting a law in 1995, Himachal banning use of recycled plastic bags was eventually adopted by most states but yet completely doing away with it has taken a longer time. It was only on 2nd October, this year that a complete ban on use of any kind of plastic was enforced in the state.
Use of use and throw bags has come down drastically but the collecting the litter lying in many townships and villages is being attempted for the first time.
On a smaller scale, smaller campaigns in Shimla city have been attempted earlier and the plastic collected has even been used by PWD authorities to tar three stretches of roads on the outskirts of Shimla with a mix of plastic-asphalt.