S/Jongkhar plans to be­come first plas­tic-free town in the coun­try

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Jigme Wangchen

With the sign­ing of a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MOU) be­tween the Sam­drup Jongkhar thromde and re­gional of­fices on June 4, the thromde is work­ing to­wards mak­ing Sam­drup Jongkhar a plas­tic-free city in the coun­try.

Ven­dors and shop­keep­ers have been told not to pro­vide plas­tic car­ry­ing bags to the cus­tomers while all the re­gional of­fices have agreed to ban the use of plas­tic plates, cups and cut­lery dur­ing of­fi­cial meet­ings and gath­er­ings.

Sam­drup Jongkhar Thrompon Karma Sherab Tob­gyal said the thromde tshogde has banned the use and sale of plas­tic prod­ucts at the veg­etable mar­ket and in shops. “It will be dif­fi­cult to ban the use of plas­tics at once but we will con­tinue to re­strict the use of plas­tic.”

Choki, a ven­dor from Sam­drup Jongkhar said that cus­tomers do not carry their own bags for shop­ping and when the shop­keep­ers refuse to give them plas­tics they refuse to make pur­chases.

She said that plas­tics were a bur­den for them. “Plas­tics cost us ex­tra but cus­tomers de­mand plas­tics.”

Sim­i­larly, an­other ven­dor said that not pro­vid­ing plas­tics would af­fect their busi­ness. “With­out pro­vid­ing plas­tics, cus­tomers will not buy our prod­ucts.”

She also said that cus­tomers go to ven­dors who pro­vide them plas­tics. “It will be fair on all the ven­dors if the au­thor­i­ties could con­duct sur­prise check­ings and in­spec­tions.”

How­ever, the Thrompon said that ev­ery­one was sup­posed to carry their own bags when they go for shop­ping. “We will con­duct sur­prise in­spec­tions and check­ing and those found us­ing plas­tics will be fined.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, he said that the ban on plas­tics in all the shops may take some time for im­ple­men­ta­tion. “But we com­mit that we will strictly re­strict the use of plas­tics.”

Res­i­dents said that it is a good ini­tia­tive by the thromde to ban the use of plas­tics as it will re­duce the amount of garbage at the land­fill thus help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and keep­ing the town clean.

Mean­while, the Thrompon said that as an al­ter­na­tive for plas­tics, shop­keep­ers would be sup­plied with areca nut leaf prod­ucts like plates and cups from Pe­math­ang in Sam­drup­chol­ing drungkhag and Gele­phu. “The Thromde has signed an MOU with the Sam­drup Jongkhar Ini­tia­tive (SJI) and SJI will sup­ply areca nut prod­ucts to the shop­keep­ers as an al­ter­na­tive to the plas­tics.” “If we can’t meet the de­mand, we will buy areca nut prod­ucts from In­dia.”

The Thrompon added that it is easy to ban plas­tic prod­ucts if all the peo­ple co­op­er­ate. He said it may take time for Sam­drup Jongk­gar to be­come a com­pletely plas­tic-free town but they will work to­wards it con­sis­tently and steadily.

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