Post Mortem

Plastic Free Hornbill Festival 2019

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/24/2019 11:56:54 AM IST

 With the Government of Nagaland’s ban order on all single use plastics (SUPs) coming into effect since 18th September 2019, one would have expected a reduction in the availability  and usage of such items in the state. However the reality is far from expectations. Hopefully and optimistically in the next couple of weeks,  we hope to see the changes that we desire, particularly after the 2nd of October 2019, when all  SUPs will be banned by the Government of India, all over the country.

The Hornbill Festival 2019, the premier and the only tourism promotional event of the state, is just about two months away.  It is a good opportunity for the government and the people concern to take the challenge to make KISAMA, a plastic free zone and the Festival a plastic free event.  For the last two years, attempts were made to raise awareness on not using the SUPs at the venue and duration of the festival. It was heartening to see; some tribal morungs and food stalls take the initiative to use innovative alternatives. The local youths were also sensitised to monitor and restrict the entry of disposable plastic materials. However these “attempts”, were not very effective enough and the Hornbill Festival waste, continued adding to the trash pile ups, as it has been doing  for the last so many years.  Last year, this was compounded by the fact, that despite the ban of SUPs by the government from 1st December 2018, the government itself freely distributed  tons of PP bags, which were essentially  plastics,  as well as the abundant usage of the so called “bio-degradable bags”, by some departments. 

The ineffectiveness of the first two attempts to curb SUPs, was largely due to the fact that sensitisation of volunteers and participants was done  rather late,   around mid- November or so. By which time most stalls, morungs, etc. had already purchased their requirements  of  pet bottles, disposable plates, cups, plastic bags etc. Plus the public and visitors were not sensitised and prepared enough on the issue to avoid USPs For the Hornbill Festival 2019, since a preparatory time of slightly over two months still exists, the Government should take up the challenge and appropriate action be taken on priority. Instructions and advisories to all the participating departments, tribal morungs, stalls etc., and the general public, must be disseminated well ahead of the event. The Inter-departmental Coordination Committee must take into cognizance the urgency of the matter and make effective its own (Government) decision to ban all USPs.  What better time and place than the Hornbill Festival 2019, to convey the Government’s seriousness and commitment to enforce the ban on SUPs. This opportunity should not be missed. There is still time to plan, work and communicate the strategies required to make Hornbill 2019, a plastic free event. The issue is how serous are we???  

Zero Waste: The Idea 

“Zero Waste” may seem daunting to many. It should not, it  is  more of a goal or ideal rather than a hard target. Zero waste is a process for continually working towards eliminating waste.  It is centered around a circular design systems as opposed to linear systems, that ends once the purpose of the product is fulfilled, which means it’s trashed. It is applicable right from the designing of a product; to how it is managed so as to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials; conserve and recover all resources; and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water, or air that may be a threat to the environment, human, animal or plant health. Zero waste at the community and individual level is about making the right choices to eradicate the use of products that have been intentionally designed to end up as waste. Clean-ups, reuse, recycling are good way to deal with the plastic waste generated but they are not enough. They are, all ways of dealing with the waste, post generation. The real solution lies in cutting the generation of waste or not producing waste, ie - Going Zero Waste! This would mean making choices in our consumption pattern that do not add to burgeoning pile of waste in our surroundings. 

The Zero Waste principles are  all about complete  reduction of single use plastic items, such as PET bottles, Styrofoam(thermocol)/ Plastic utensils (plates/ spoons/ forks/ straws, cups, Multilayered plastics of food packaging, plastic bags, PP bags, plastic gift warps etc.  This would also include Plastic decorations, Flex banners and volunteer identity cards. The reduction is followed by Segregation, for recovering resources and responsible disposal and  No burning. It is also important to Communicate well in advance for everyone to understand, learn and adhere to the above steps, towards zero waste.  

Suggested below are some Ideas for the Plastic Free Hornbill Festival 2019.  Based on the  above principles of zero waste, the following ideas  can  be considered  for the  Hornbill Festival, 2019 to go the zero waste way and be plastic free. . 

1. ZERO WASTE KIT in place of mementoes or other such gift items. 

i) A welcome package consisting of a cloth bag, a steel water bottle and a   sturdy mug with logos of the Hornbill Festival, could be made.  The visitors could be charged some amount for these items, which could also be taken back as souvenirs of the festival by them. A small note that explains the importance of bringing own bag and reusable water bottle n cup, could be placed in the bag. 

(To be concluded)

L. H. Thangi Mannen

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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