The growing population and an increase in the number of shops using plastic are the main reasons for the wide use of plastic materials in Nagaland, according to a study conducted by the Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB).
The survey was conducted on manufacturing and recycling units, scrap dealers and households recently.
The NPCB said Kohima contains a considerably large amount of plastic bags in every nook and corner of any street, public places and most notably markets.
The study found that out the six plastic manufacturing units in the state, four use virgin plastic materials and the other two use mixture of both virgin as well as waste plastic – mixed plastics to manufacture water storage tanks and plastic ropes.
The survey of 17 scrap dealers found that scrap dealers buy the plastic scraps from local rag pickers and other wastes by door-to-door collection. Majority of the plastic wastes 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 jerry cans.
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 to easy availability, lack of alternative materials and light weight.
The survey said 80 per cent of plastic users dispose their plastic wastes in open dumping areas while the remaining throw it in 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 wastes at home.
According to the survey, 53 per cent of the respondents say 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 use of 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 non-governmental organisations.
The NPCB said the plastic bitumen road technique was first experimented by it in 2009 at 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 wastes, was of a women’s self help group in Sechu Zubza.
The women, who are farmers, housewives and small business owners, collect wastes along the National Highway 29 twice or thrice a week. They segregate the wastes and send to Dimapur to be sold to scrap dealers.
All churches in the area also adhere to a common “no disposal plastic and paper plates policy”. The Sechu Zubza Youth Organisation also ordered that only 40 micron+ plastic should be used and prohibited the use of plastic and paper plates during any occasion.