Himachal’s plastic waste drive may earn it national award

January 12th, 2011 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Jan 12 (IANS) An innovative scheme launched by Himachal Pradesh to remove polythene wastes by using these to surface roads may win the state government a national award, an official said Wednesday.A central team is currently touring the state to study the implementation of the drive and, if satisfied, may nominate the state for the Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in public service, said the official.

According to Nagin Nanda, member secretary of the state Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, a central inspection and assessment team has visited various municipal sites in Solan and Shimla districts. The team will also tour Mandi and Kangra districts.

The team comprised Satish Kumar, director in the ministry of administrative reforms, and A. Kasturirangan, an urban planning expert from the Administrative Staff College of India in Hyderabad.

Himachal Pradesh imposed a ban on the production, storage, use, sale and distribution of all types of polythene bags made of non-biodegradable materials Oct 2, 2009.

The government is also planning to include all plastic materials like disposable plates, cups and glasses in the ambit of the ban.

After imposing the ban, the government launched a campaign “Polythene Hatao, Paryavaran Bachao” (remove polythene, save environment) across the state in three phases.

Under the campaign, 311 tonnes of plastic waste was collected from 1,675 “hotspots”.

Later, waste plastic, including carry bags, disposable cups, laminated plastics like pouches of chips, pan masala, aluminium foil and packaging material used for biscuits, chocolates, milk and grocery items, is being used in road surfacing.

The state Public Works Department (PWD) has built 40 km of a road stretch on a pilot basis by using 40 tonnes of shredded plastic waste.

E. Vikram, of the State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, said the team also visited the Totu-Jubbarhatti road on the outskirts of Shimla to see the use of plastic in road tarring.

To maintain regular supply of the collected plastic waste with the PWD, the government has developed a buyback mechanism. It has asked the village panchayats and urban local bodies to segregate plastic from other waste in their areas. The PWD would buy the waste at a rate of Rs.4 per kilogramm for use in road making.

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