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KOHIMA, Jun 5: Along with the rest of the World, State capital Kohima, celebrated ‘World Environment Day’ under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”(If you can’t Reuse it, Refuse it), on Tuesday here at the NBCC Convention Centre. It was organized by the Department of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.
Through this day, UN is making an effort to urge Governments, Industries, Communities, and people to unite in the fight against plastic and explore an alternative that is sustainable. It calls for individuals to take charge of their surroundings and release the severity of using plastic in daily life. The theme invites everyone to consider how they can make changes in their everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic Pollution on the natural places, wildlife, and health.
Extending greetings on World Environment Day, Chief Minister Rio said the day was being observed to reinforce their commitment to protecting the environment for a better future for all of us. He stated that World Environment Day was the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth and which can be focused locally, nationally or globally, solo action or can involve everyone.
Promising to launch a campaign for Clean & Green Nagaland within three months he added that the government is committed to planting trees for a Green Nagaland. He called upon the youth and the people of the State to join this campaign and plant more trees for a Greener Nagaland. He said that the dream of a Clean and Green Nagaland will be a reality only with the active participation of everyone.
Also commenting on the theme for 2018 ‘beating plastic pollution’ he said Plastic Pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time and it requires action from all of us. The challenge before all of us, he said, is to consider what changes we can make in our everyday lives to reduce the burden of plastic pollution on our environment, our biodiversity, and our own health.
Plastics have become a municipal waste nightmare, prompting local governments all over the world to implement the ban on the use of plastic bags and he stated that Countries like Bangladesh, France, and Rwanda have duly banned plastic bags. World Environment Day provides an opportunity for each of us to adopt many lifestyle changes that can help combat plastic pollution and we need to act actively and participate willingly to combat this challenge and save our fragile environment.
He also commented that Plastic has become a menace in Nagaland too, especially in Kohima, Dimapur and district headquarters which leads to choking of drains and gutters that cause flooding as well as makes it a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
He said that the KMC is implementing the Plastic Waste (Management & Handling) Rules 2011 under The Environment Protection Act, 1986, however, he said that there is need to improve awareness as well as enforcement of the act. He urged all to stop using plastic bags and instead take reusable cloth bags for shopping.
He also suggested that plastic plates and cutlery used in functions and events can easily be replaced with bamboo products which are not only environment-friendly but will also give a push to the Bamboo based economy.
He called on everyone to resolve to commit oneself for a Plastic-Free Nagaland by banning the use of plastic in the State within 6 months. Concluding his speech he said that together we can make a difference in reducing the use of plastics and contribute to protecting the environment and a better tomorrow.
Minister Environment, Forest & Climate Change, and Parliamentary Affairs, C. M. Chang, in his keynote address, said the celebration of the Day is a call for action to everyone to come together and combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time.
He added that plastic has many valuable uses, and we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic and this impending epidemic is overwhelming our planet. We are addicted to the convenience of single-use plastic starting from the single-use plastic water bottle, takeaway coffee cup, lunch wrapped in disposable plastic packaging, and possibly a plastic bag.
He further informed on the prediction by the year 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and plastic can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates. Plastic also makes its way into our water supply and plastics contain a number of chemicals, many of which are toxic or disrupt hormones.
He also suggested ways to stop plastic pollution is to redesign and innovate plastic products which make them easier to recycle, Scale up the adoption of reusable plastic packaging, establish a global plastic protocol, create a viable market for recycled plastic, to improve waste collection, sorting and reprocessing. He urged everyone to adopt the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and take a pledge to collectively make our earth a greener place, Zero waste, and a plastic-free zone.
In collaboration with Department of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Nagaland Science & Technology Council launched a book on School Tool Kit on the World Environment Day. The kit contains a Teacher’s Hand Book, 3 Posters, booklet for students on positive Hand Print action. The kit seeks to inculcate a sense of responsibility of school going children and motivate them to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic by their individual action. The Teacher manual developed, as a part of the kit, provides teachers an opportunity to meaningfully engage with students to clarify facts associated with the increasing plastic pollution .100 copies of the Tool Kit will be distributed to School and Nagaland Government Departments.
The programme was chaired by IFS Secretary, Department of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Imtienla Ao. The invocation was pronounced by Youth Secretary, Co-convener NBCC Sanitation & Environment Committee, Rev. Vikuo Rhi. Other highlights of the programme included a short play by Dreams Unlimited and Green Pledge was read out by the Speaker Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Vikho-o Yhoshu. CM felicitated the winners of the state level Poster competition for school students below standard X. Winners of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd position were bagged by Marnungba, class IX, Town Higher Secondary School, Mokokchung, Pipito Awomi, Class X, Holy Family Higher Secondary School, Kohima; Atuna Shikhu, Class X, North field, Kohima. Departmental Book was released by the Chief Minister followed by the inauguration of the photo exhibition. All the participants were given a tree sapling to commemorate the World Environment Day.