The Nagaland State Government’s recent decision to ban plastic water bottles below one liter and single-use carry bags, starting August 1, is welcome news. However, it is pertinent to recall that the Government of Nagaland has already imposed a “Ban on Single-Use Plastics in Nagaland” since 2022. The Nagaland government’s ban on single-use plastic is in compliance with directives from the Central Pollution Control Board, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, and subsequent directives from the Urban Development Department Nagaland (UDD) as per the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

While the latest decision of the Nagaland state government is appreciated, it raises the question of how effective the previous ban has been. The state government must recognize that passing orders is one thing, while effectively implementing the ban is quite another. There has not been much effective implementation of the ban on single-use plastics in the past, which is precisely why the issue has surfaced again.

The decision to ban certain plastic products is an essential first step. However, it is imperative that this policy is supported by a robust action plan encompassing widespread awareness campaigns, rigorous enforcement, and innovative waste management practices. Intensive media campaigns, seminars, and workshops, as proposed by the Chief Secretary, are crucial to educate the public on the adverse effects of single-use plastics and promote alternative, eco-friendly options.

Besides, it is suggested that those who effectively implement plastic-free practices should be incentivized and rewarded. This approach would not only recognize and encourage individuals and organizations leading by example but also motivate others to adopt similar environmentally friendly practices. Rewarding such initiatives could range from public recognition and awards to financial incentives, thereby fostering a culture of sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship across Nagaland. These measures, combined with strict enforcement of bans and comprehensive awareness campaigns, can significantly contribute to reducing plastic waste and promoting a cleaner, greener future for the state.

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