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Published on October 3rd, 2019 | by Johnna Crider

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Himalayan Village Successfully Bans Single-Use Plastics

October 3rd, 2019 by  


A small Himalayan village had a creative solution to the Indian Prime Minister’s urge for people to stop using single-use plastics across the country.

Cities across India, which has a population of 1.3 billion people, are struggling to deal with plastic waste. Plastic makes up about 8% of the total solid waste in India, according to the AFP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a goal for India to phase out single-use plastics by 2022. About half of the plastics in India are used for packaging and much of it is for single-use plastics such as cutlery, bags, and straws. Many states in India have banned plastic bags, and a few corporations, like Amazon India, have agreed to help by agreeing to eventually ditch the single-use plastic.

Screenshot of Lachung from Google Maps.

Lachun is in the northeastern state of Sikkim and has actually banned single-use plastic and has focused on eco-friendly alternatives. Thupden Lachungpa explains in the video that his Lachun is a beautiful place that attracts tourists who come and, sadly, bring their habits with them. Some habits include littering in the rivers and streams.

“We have waged a war against single-use plastic,” Lachungpa says in the video.

The people of the Valley of Flowers noticed over a period of three years that there were a lot of plastics and they decided along with the village elders to create a law banning single-use plastics. “Banning single-use plastic bottles or materials was not just an option,” Lachungpa says. He highlighted better alternatives, such as bottles made from bamboo, shopping baskets made from bamboo, or items used like they were in the Stone Age — old school mortar and pestles.

When they do confiscate plastic bottles, they don’t throw them away, but instead reuse them. The village imposes a fine on people who insist on bringing in plastic bottles or other types of single-use plastics. “We have achieved an accomplishment in banning single-use plastic” Lachungpa tells the BBC. He hopes that Lachun can set an example for cities across the world on how to help create a better way of eliminating single-use plastic around the world. Lachun has taken a holistic approach and eventually the village hopes to ban all plastic from the small village — and eventually the planet.

“I think our coming generation deserves a clean environment. And we only have one planet to live on, let’s protect it. “

5 Quick Ways You Can Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

1. Stop using straws and plastic cutlery. If a straw is a must, purchase a steel one. Having used a paper straw before, I don’t like how it gets soggy fast. Steel would be much better.

2. Did you know that gum has plastic in it? Polyethylene is a popular component of gum base — a mix of plasticizers, sweeteners, flavors, and color. It also has resin in it. Polyethylene is also found in plastic bags, toys, bulletproof vests, plastic bottles, and more places. Cut back on chewing gum and instead eat on chewy candies.

3. When you can, buy boxes instead of bottles — such as laundry detergent.

4. Use a refillable metal lighter or matches instead of plastic disposable lighters. When I light my incense, I use the stove.

5. Use boxes or buy your own bags for shopping instead of using plastic ones. Don’t use ziplock sandwich bags for sandwiches or snacks. Instead, use smaller containers.

These five ways are a small step forward in helping to reduce single-use plastics anywhere. It’s a hard habit to break here in America, where we have our to-go cups, plastic cutlery, and other items. But we can each try to do better. 
 
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About the Author

Johnna Crider is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, and Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter



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