Kohima, February 12: “It’s time to move beyond plastic as plastic pollution not only negatively impacts the natural environment and create problems for plants and wildlife but it is toxic to human health,” was the clarion call made during a sensitization programme on “Plastic pollution and its harmful effects”.
The sensitization programe was organized Angamimiapfü Mechü Krotho (AMK) and sponsored by Kohima Municipal Council at AMK Ki here today. It was attended by the women leaders from 12 villages representing AMK constituent units.
Retired IAS officer turned social activist, Thangi Mannen addressing the women leaders said humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, and gained momentum in the 90s.
She said that only 12% of the plastics are incinerated, 9% recycled while 79% are dumped and still exists in landfills or the natural environment.
More than 95% of the non-biodegradable waste collected are plastic trash, she said.
Stating that single use plastics are the biggest pollutants while drinks bottles have become a rising tide of plastic.
As per the Municipal estimate, in Kohima alone around 100 tons of waste is generated every day, she said.
Saying that plastic never goes away, she said plastic is a material made to last forever, yet 33% of all plastic – water bottles, bags and straws – are used just once and thrown away. Disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years and longer, she said.
Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us, she said while adding that exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, fertility and other ailments.
Health hazards of plastics on humans – Cancer, endocrine problems, skin problems, disruption in sexual fertility and hypotheroidism, she said.
A 2017 study found that 83% of tap water samples taken around the world contained plastic pollutants, she said.
On what can done to prevent plastic pollution, she said Government of Nagaland had issued a ban on single used plastics, but there has been no visible impact to this ban and therefore follow-up to this notification has to be pursued.
She said as concerned citizens people should not always wait for Government directives, but should make their voices heard by the Government to act upon on what they want, and can do.
Maintaining that no amount of governmental policies will effectively make a difference unless people who create demand for plastic consciously choose to adapt to plastic-free lifestyles, she said “we as consumers have the power to drastically reduce plastic pollution by making small personal level changes in our day-to-day lives”.
She therefore appealed people to ‘Say NO to Plastic Bags’ and also wherever and whenever possible avoid using too much plastics, refuse plastic bags by carrying your own shopping bags, re-use plastic bags and containers as long as possible.
Asking to avoid plastic cutleries, plates, cups and spoons in all functions private or officials, marriages, meetings, any gatherings picnics, she said use bio-degrable ones or better the re-useable ones.
The churches could perhaps take the lead in banning the use of the these disposable cutleries during marriage receptions /meetings within the church premises, she said.
Appealing for practice of four Rs of a plastic-free lifestyle – Refuse Plastic, Reuse plastic, Recycle and Raise Awareness, she said “it’s time to move beyond plastic”.
Member of Green Team Kohima, Alice Kamei speaking on the topic “role of women in waste management”, said women play multitasked role and therefore they should learn to practice segregation of waste at source for easier and effective collection such as biodegradable waste and recyclable waste.
Biodegradable waste include – Food and kitchen waste, green waste vegetables, flowers, leaves, fruits and paper while Recyclable waste are Paper, glass, bottles, cans, metals and certain plastics.
KMC office secretary Zakie Kiso dwelled on the present scenario and system of waste management in Kohima.
Chaired by AMK president Kevinourheno the programme commenced with prayer by AMK treasurer Vakrale Naleo while vote of thanks was tendered by vice president Alebu Sanchu. (Page News Service)