Sikkim, which is often applauded for being one of the cleanest states in India has now taken one more step to reduce its carbon footprint. In two recent notifications issued by the state’s home department, the Sikkim government has decided to manage its waste in a more efficient and eco-friendly manner by banning the use of plastic water bottles in all government meetings and programmes. Further, it has banned the use of disposable foam products across the entire state.
An order signed into effect by the Chief Secretary Alok K Shrivastava stated that a huge quantity of municipal waste is created in the form of disposable products which are environmentally hazardous, and claim a lot of space in landfills. It was found that a lot of disposable foam containers were being used not just in bazaar areas at food stalls, but also in rural pockets. Owing to this, there is now a state-wide ban on the use and sale of cups, plates, spoons, containers, and other foam items. This ban is effective immediately, and shopkeepers will be made aware of the ban this week, said Gangtok mayor Shakti Singh Chaudhary.
The government also stated that rampant use of packaged drinking water in departmental meetings and programmes has led to the piling up of disposable plastic bottles that add an unnecessary burden on dump yards. “Therefore, in order to reduce creation of garbage in the form of used drinking water plastic bottles it is notified that the packaged drinking water bottles may not be used during any government meetings or functions,” stated one of the orders that Shrivastava signed. The alternative proposed is to switch to filtered water, water from large reusable dispensers or reusable water bottles at such government functions and meetings.
In a notification, Shrivastava stated that the government has been initiating various measures to manage the waste and maintain a clean environment. Sikkim was also the first state in the country to ban the use of plastic bags in 1998.