Kohima: Under the umbrella of the Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO), Dzukou Valley was officially declared as a plastic-free zone on World Environment Day by Er Zale Neikha, advisor, youth resources & sports, who was the special guest. Declaring Dzukou as a plastic free zone, Zale unveiled a Monolith at NH 02 at Viswema.
Addressing the gathering, Neikha lauded the SAYO for taking the initiative of cleaning the valley earlier from May 21-23, and for further initiating the need to declare a plastic-free zone. Urging the need to preserve the valley, which is not only a pride to the southern Angamis but for the whole state, Neikha pressed for the preservation of this Naga asset.
Highlighting on the need to create a clean environment, he emphasised on how protection and care for the environment will contribute to the produce of organic farming, which in turn will boost the state’s economy and create employment. Neikha further suggested the need to make developmental activities wisely through right mediums, which could also ease the recreational and adventurous activities of the tourists.
Akhale Khamo, director of tourism department, in her address mentioned that 90% of the waste found in the valley are plastics and stated that the state’s most visited tourist destination is in dire need of care.
Khamo urged the Angami youth Organization (AYO), the Apex youth body of the tribe, to implement the use of car bins within its jurisdiction and contribute to environmental protection. She also expressed that Nagaland’s Dzukou valley, if taken utmost care, will be more beautiful than the “valley of flowers” in Uttarakhand which is a UNESCO heritage.
SAYO president Zakeleto Tsukru recalled how 150 youths had gone up to Dzukou in May to clean the valley. While Dzukou is a desirable tourist destination, the waste left behind has become a threat to the heavenly place and to the environment. Therefore, immediate action was necessitated and after consultation with the concerned departments, Dzukou was declared a plastic-free zone.
Briefing the media, Tsukru said that, with the declaration of the plastic-free zone, the entry point o Dzukou via Viswema will be thoroughly checked and persons carrying polythene bags will pay a security fee while entering the valley. Later on their return, the security deposited will be refunded if the registered number of polythene bags are brought back. Tsukru also mentioned that while this is the first step, the entry to Dzukou via Jakhama will also follow the same regulations once an entry point is constructed. However, most tourist ply through the Viswema entry point, he affirmed.
Meanwhile, with the aim to protect one of the most important watershed areas of Kohima district, Pulie Badze was also declared a ‘plastic-free zone’ on Wednesday. As per a press release, the event was initiated by the department of environment, forests and climate change, Kohima forest division in collaboration with Jotsoma Nature Conservation & Ecotourism Committee and village functionaries of Jotsoma village.