English | Dzongkha Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tsirang to prohibit use of plastics

Namgay Wangchuk, Tsirang
Jun 12, 2018

The use and sale of plastics is banned in the country, but like most other bans, it has proved to be an ineffective one. Tsirang is seeking to change this. It wants to first limit and then gradually end the use of plastics in the dzongkhag.

The dzongkhag kicked off the move by raising awareness on plastic hazards at vegetable market.

From mushrooms to chillies and tomatoes, everything at the Sunday vegetable market in Tsirang comes packed in plastic bags. There is no doubt vegetable markets are where plastics are used the most. Vendors have bundles of plastic bags handy for their customers.

“Some of the customers come to buy vegetables without carrying any bag and they ask for plastics and if we fail to provide, they would walk away without buying. That’s how plastics determine our sales,” Karma Lhazom, a vegetable vendor said.

Tsirang dzongkhag environment officials went around, talking to both buyers and sellers at the market about the environmental tolls of plastics.  “For two months, we will try convince people to reduce or avoid using plastic bags,” Environment Officer Dorji Wangdi said.

“After that, there are provisions whereby we can go and penalize people because plastic is banned in the country.”

Customers offered tips on how to go about banning plastics.  “If the officials study where plastics are used most and seize them with strict warning, then there is a chance we can prohibit use of plastics,” Migmer Gyeltshen Sherpa, a customer, said.

“First give warnings and follow that with fines,” he added.

Signboards discouraging use of plastics are already up. Stalls will be set up at the vegetable market from next week to promote and distribute eco-friendly bags.

The dzongkhag also wants to encourage use of flittered water to reduce pet bottles. Customers will be encouraged to bring their own bottles when coming to buy milk to the milk booths.

Use of traditional phobs and bangchungs will be encouraged and banana leaves will be promoted as an alternative to plastic for packing butter, cheese and betel nut.

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