Alternate biodegradable products needed to replace plastic in Ladakh
Govt claims not visible on ground
LEH: Known for its pristine natural beauty and fragile environment, for Ladakh Union Territory the use of Single-Use Plastic (SUP) has become a major concern in the region, and it poses a significant threat to the environment.
The government and local authorities have been claiming to have taken steps to address this issue by promoting the use of alternate products and implementing measures to reduce plastic waste, but on ground these claims seem to be null and void since no change is visible.
However, the region has abundant natural resources that can be used to create eco-friendly products that would be an alternative for SUP products. For instance, Ladakh has a vast range of agricultural produce that can be used to make biodegradable packaging. And the people of the region want plastic to be banned totally for the greater good of the environment.
“The region also has a thriving handicraft industry that produces items such as jute bags, bamboo products, and cloth bags that can be used as an alternative to plastic,” said of the artisans from the region.
To reduce plastic waste, Ladakh administration has implemented a ban on use of plastic but these bans are only limited to verbal announcement, he said and added that the primary challenge in Ladakh is the lack of availability of alternative products to replace plastic which needs to be addressed to replace SUP.
Although, the government has been encouraging the use of cloth bags, jute bags, and paper bags. In addition, the government is promoting the installation of water dispensers, which reduces the use of plastic water bottles.
In this context, the government of Ladakh recently banned use, sale and purchase of Nylon Strings (Manjha) since the product is non-biodegradable.
However, without the active cooperation of local communities involved in cleaning up plastic waste and promoting environmental awareness, these initiatives are aimless, said a senior citizen from Kargil.
“We need to be aware about the harmful effects of plastic on the environment since the majority of the people, mostly tourists, still use plastic bags and bottles without realizing the long-term impact on the environment in Ladakh,” He said.
Moreover, the region has limited waste management facilities, and the transportation of waste to distant locations is a major challenge, he said and asserted that Ladakh’s fragile environment makes it imperative to reduce plastic waste and promote the use of eco-friendly products.
With sustained efforts, for making Ladakh plastic-free regions, collective efforts are needed to give people alternate products which are degradable to reduce plastic.
Despite several attempts, Chairman/CEC Leh Tashi Gyalson couldn’t be reached for his comments.
However, in a meeting the CEC chaired on May 25, 2023 at Council Secretariat, Gyalson emphasised on a comprehensive plan which includes source segregation of waste, segregated collection and transportation, processing of segregated waste, continuous awareness generation for reducing Single Use Plastic (SUP), use of substitute products.
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