Students practised the making of eco-bricks made out of plastics in Kohima

Kohima: After the state government’s decision to ban single-use plastic effective from September, the Kohima Smart City Development Limited (KSCDL) and Green Team Kohima jointly organised an awareness programme on waste management and plastic pollution at the Kohima Solid Waste Management (SWM) facility at Lerie in Kohima, Nagaland on Friday.

Students from seven colleges in Kohima were taught to make eco-bricks out of waste bottles and plastics. To encourage the students’ participation in eco-friendly activities, the organisers distributed Rs 2,000 as seed money to these colleges for beautification activities within the college. The top three colleges that will control plastic use using the seed money in an innovative manner will be given monetary award after certain assessments by Green Team Kohima.

Thangi Mannen, founding member of Green Team Kohima, highlighting the ways to control single-use plastic to the students

R Pandey, plant manager at the facility, said that with growing plastic menace in the state’s capital, the landfill area at Kohima SWM — which was allotted for the accumulation of plastic waste of 15 years — has already recorded 80% waste stack in just three years, having only 20% of the area left for 12 years.

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Affirming that the process to minimise the landfill waste has begun, Pandey said that he was hopeful that 80% of these aggregated waste can be recovered and recycled. However, he expressed concern at the rate in which plastic pollution is growing. He said that if single-use plastic is not controlled, the state will have to make huge monetary investments to recover aggregated waste timely.

Students listening to the plant manager at the SWM facility in Kohima

With just 25 labourers engaged in waste segregation, the plant manager asserted that other work process in managing waste gets delayed since most households dispose of garbage without segregating waste. This adds to their misery as the process is done manually, and the safety of the labourers is also compromised. He suggested that if the households dispose of garbage by segregating plastic, glasses and other degradable waste, it would ease the work of the labourers which will in turn quicken the waste management process.

Working up to eight hours a day at the SWM facility and with the availability of machinery, Pandey said that the process to minimise 20% of the accumulated waste has already begun.

Not surprisingly, out of the 35-40 tons of waste collected daily, 80% comes in the form of plastic.

Meanwhile, Thangi Manen, founding member of Green Team Kohima, highlighted the ways in which the public can contribute towards the government’s initiative of controlling single-use plastic. She recommended the need to practise waste segregation; promote local and wholesome food over packaged food; investment in re-usable utensils; practice of community composting and the need to create awareness. She further envisioned a reduction in the load of the landfill if such healthy practices are followed.

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