Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is a picturesque state boasting breathtaking scenery. However, its natural beauty is threatened by an increasing menace – plastic pollution. In a pioneering move, Sikkim took the initiative to become the first Indian state to prohibit single-use plastic bags way back in 1998.
Efforts to End Plastic Pollution
- A ban on the manufacture, sale, and use of disposable plastic bags.
- A ban on the use of packaged drinking water in government offices and government events.
- A ban on the use of Styrofoam and thermocol disposable plates and cutlery.
- A requirement for all businesses to recycle their plastic waste.
- A penalty of Rs. 500 for the first offense and Rs. 1,000 for subsequent offenses for the use of plastic bags.
The state has also launched a number of awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of plastic pollution. These campaigns have been conducted through schools, colleges, government offices, and the media.
- Sikkim’s efforts to end plastic pollution have been successful. The use of plastic bags has decreased significantly since the ban was implemented in 1998. In 2014, a study by Toxics Link found that only 34% of shops in Sikkim were using plastic bags. And in 2018, a study by eCoexist found that 66% of shops in Sikkim were using paper bags or newspapers.
- The state’s awareness campaigns have also been successful. A 2016 survey by the Sikkim Environment and Natural Resources Department found that 92% of people in Sikkim were aware of the ban on plastic bags.
Sikkim is a leading example of how a state can take action to reduce plastic pollution. The state’s policies and regulations, as well as its awareness campaigns, have been successful in reducing the use of plastic bags and other single-use plastics. Sikkim’s experience shows that it is possible to end plastic pollution, and other states and countries can learn from its example