Trash or Treasure? NMC announces Rs 15/kg incentive for collection of plastic waste
NMC announces Rs 15/kg incentive for collection of plastic waste
In a first for Sikkim, Namchi Municipal Council (NMC) announced an initiative to eradicate plastic littering and plastic waste from the Municipal area. NMC, in a notification bearing the reference number 369/NMC/295, informed that the council has decided to provide incentive of Rs 15/kg to the person who collects plastic waste and delivers it to the Namchi Municipal Office for further processing and proper disposal of plastic wastes.
The council informed that this step has been taken in order to keep Namchi and all its GPUs free from plastic littering. The NMC also encouraged SHGs/NGOs/Volunteers and Samaritans to work in tandem with the initiative of keeping the municipal area clean.
NMC also further requested every citizen to carry their own reusable bags, water-bottles, and maintain cleanliness ethics.
Below is the office notification:
The Municipal Exectutive Officer (MEO), Lakpa Gyalpo Sherpa spoke with Sikkim Chronicle, elaborating about the vision behind the initiative and the cog-wheels that have been placed to make this initiative a success in bringing about the eradication of plastic littering in and around Namchi Municipal area.
Talking about the initiative, the MEO informed that this was solely the brainchild of NMC and that it was decided in a board meeting in the third week of September which was promptly initiated via the notification, “In the council board meeting, the issue of plastic littering was raised, though it was agreed that the littering isn’t that rampant, but still it was decided that we are going to incentivize collecting plastic waste,” the MEO said.
“If we do that (incentivize collection of plastic waste), there are people who are concerned (about wastes, littering, and the environment in general), and people who pick the wastes up, and the incentives would be an encouragement and support to those people,” he added.
There are seven Municipal Councils in Sikkim, but Namchi has been the first one to start such initiative in which incentivization for collection of wastes, and processing and disposal of plastic waste has been introduced, informed the MEO.
Speaking about what this would mean for this to be rubbing off on other councils, the MEO said, “this is solely the initiative of NMC and Namchi is the first municipal area to bring about such initiative. We have already sent the circular via the notification and we also have intimated various GPUs (under NMC) about a competition in which the people who collect the most waste will be felicitated, and we hope that other municipal councils will also do something on their level (to fight this good battle).”
Informing about a competition that the NMC is organizing to work as both a kick-starter and a backbone to solidify the initiative, the MEO said, “we have sent circulars and letters to various schools in which the different houses in the school would participate in the competition, in which the house that does the most collection would be felicitated.”
He added, “the competition is on an individual level as well, there is already the (Rs 15/kg) incentive, and then there will be a felicitation of the students who bring the most amount of plastic waste. This will also apply to individuals from all the GPUs in Namchi Municipal area.”
Informing that the framework for the felicitations he further informed, “we will be coordinating with the GPUs and schools after Dussehra and then work on the framework of how and when the felicitations will be done.”
The Municipal Council board which consists of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, the MEO, the executive Councilor, and all the Councilors from all the seven wards that the Namchi Municipal area covers, came up with the initiative seeing the need for clean-up in and around Namchi.
“We have started in and around Namchi Municipal area but we will slowly cover places outside the NMC area since we will have participants, from citizens outside the area and students who come from all around and we feel that they will definitely bring the waste from outside the area as well, which we have no issues with since our sole target is to collect, process and dispose of the plastic wastes,” said the MEO.
Now, the questions that arise to people who are well versed in what plastic disposal is all about, are:
– What kind of plastic wastes are to be collected?
– How are they going to be segregated, processed and disposed?
To know why there is so much scrutiny about plastic waste, people need to first establish that plastic material is cheap, cost-effective to produce, versatile, and durable. It is widely used for packaged food, drinking milk or water, and various healthcare equipment. Plastics are cost-effective, require less energy to produce, and are very lightweight and biocompatible.
This makes them an ideal material for single-use disposable devices, which currently comprise 85 % of medical equipment. Plastics can innovative materials for use in engineered tissues, absorbable sutures, prosthetics, and other medical applications. However, the biggest downside is that the material is one of the biggest, if not the biggest contributor to the ongoing and evident global environmental degradation.
“Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them. Plastic pollution is most visible in developing Asian and African nations, where garbage collection systems are often inefficient or nonexistent. But the developed world, especially in countries with low recycling rates, also has trouble properly collecting discarded plastics. Plastic trash has become so ubiquitous it has prompted efforts to write a global treaty negotiated by the United Nations.” – National Geographic
The different types of plastic wastes are as follows:
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Miscellaneous Plastics (Mix plastics)
Not all of the plastics are recyclable, some types of plastics are hard to process and break-down so they can be reused elsewhere, hence the questions that arise.
Answering these queries the MEO informed, “we will be collecting these plastics here and send all the types of collected plastics to Siliguri, West Bengal, since Sikkim doesn’t yet have a viable way to process the waste and the wastes will be segregated in to different categories from which the shreddables will be shredded and duly processed, and as per directions from the Pollution Control Board most of it will be used to create roads, other materials and the ones that aren’t recyclable will be disposed accordingly.”
The initiative is one that can be a cornerstone, which would be seen as an embryonic step in bringing about a transformative change in not just the way people see plastic wastes, segregation and recycling, but also change the mindset of the people who turn a blind eye to the evident problems that plastics are causing in harming the environment.