Shillong: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in collaboration with the Syiem of Hima Mylliem held a public meeting in Iewduh in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong on Monday. The meeting comes after executive member in-charge of trade and market, Paul Lyngdoh, issued a notification which declared Iewduh a ‘No Plastic Zone’ effective from September 1.

Highlighting the menace of plastic waste, Lyngdoh said, “Back in the days we never knew what plastic was, it is only with modernisation and development that things have changed. It is upon us to ensure that we revive our tradition of using leaves ‘Sla’.”

Earlier, betel nuts, also known as ‘Kwai’ among the locals, were packed in small plastic bags. They will no longer be done now. Lyngdoh further reiterated on how plastic has become a menace to the environment and the need to act upon it before it is too late.

KHADC conducted the meeting in collaboration with the Syiem of Hima Mylliem in Iewduh, Shillong 

“People are going helter-skelter about this ban, but I would like to ask the people here 20 years ago how did we survive? It was all because of habits. Practising and getting into the habit is what is required to cope up to this ban. People should make it a habit to practise good habits,” added Lyngdoh.

During the meeting, officials appointed by the KHADC, whose job is to monitor plastic ban in the market, were introduced. The six members of the supervisory team comprise of three officials from KHADC and three from Hima Mylliem.

“These are the officers who will be monitoring the market. We would also need every individual’s help. Wherever you hear that there is a sale of plastic or the use of plastic is going on one should immediately inform these officials. Because if the ban is effective and successful in Iewduh, it wouldn’t be hard to implement it all over the city,” said Lyngdoh.

Also Read: Meghalaya’s oldest market goes plastic-free. But will it work?

He further emphasised the need to keep the market clean. Adding that the committee has discussed about setting up a cold storage so that the vegetables don’t go waste and it wouldn’t be a loss for the shopkeepers too.

“We have set up a committee who will identify an area around the corners of the market to setup this cold storage, the vegetables which couldn’t be sold for the day will be kept in this storage so that they can be used again the next day. Why are leaf sellers upset? It is because their products are not sold out. During the middle of the day, they would normally rush back to catch a vehicle and they would end up throwing these leaves. But with the help of cold storage, those leaves can be preserved and sold the following day. This would also increase the trade of leaves around the villages in our state like War, Lyngam, West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi,” added Lyngdoh.

The committee will first work on dealing with breaking the supply chain of plastics in Iewduh. This also comes as a relief for meat-sellers and fishmongers as the committee decided to allow the use of plastic bags which are less than 50 microns.

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