Areca nuts (locally known as ‘kwai’) are widely eaten in Meghalaya Credit: Twitter

Guwahati: After leaves, cloth bags and many other initiatives adopted in a bid to fight single-use plastic items, Meghalaya has led the way once again by introducing biodegradable organic bags to wrap and sell its popular areca nuts (locally called kwai).

Kwai is a widely loved and consumed item in the state of Meghalaya which is nothing but areca nut, betel leaf (paan) and lime.

Highlighting the use of organic bags on Twitter, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma said, “Biodigradable organic bags being used to sell betel nut. One small yet significant step against use of plastic.”

A traditional habit among the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya, areca nut is served along with betel leaf and lime as a humble gesture and is also believed to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Served in a leaf or a plastic bag, kwai is easily available anywhere at roadsides outlets or markets to pamper everyone’s palate. Betel vine and areca nuts are also important cash crops in the state and supplied in many parts of northeastern states.

The widely eaten and easily available ‘kwai’ has also served its way towards a plastic free environment.

Earlier this year, with a similar motive of fighting plastic menace, several initiatives have been undertaken in various districts. Starting from ‘sla’ (leaves) which was intended to replace plastics with leaves for grocery purchase, followed by reports of the use of cloth bags.

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