Nagaland: Women society contributes towards plastic-free state

Kohima (Nagaland): With the rising menace of plastic pollution in the region, citizens of Nagaland have become cautious about plastic products and the government is working towards a plastic-free state.

Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio has last year declared that Nagaland would be a plastic-free state. A woman group named ‘Mercy Society’ from Nagaland is encouraging the initiatives by making paper bags to curb plastic pollution.

A woman group ‘Mercy Society’ from Dimapur, formed by single mothers, widows and divorcees is taking great initiatives to curb the plastic menace of the region. The group comes together twice a week to make paper bags and the society aims to live life with dignity and sustainability. At present, nine members are there in the group.

In a bid to promote the use of paper bags instead of plastic bags to sustain a better livelihood, Mercy society in collaboration with the (Dimapur Municipal Corporation) DMC has taken the initiative to make paper boats.

Sharing details of the same, one of the Mercy Society members said, “Our society took training under Community Avenue Network (CAN) Youth in collaboration with DMC. After that we started this with the help of the Governor, he provided us raw materials and we are gearing up for the hornbill where we will be presenting our pieces of stuff and will be good exposure for a woman.”

In a recent study conducted by the Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB), the growing population and an increase in the number of shops using plastic are the main reasons for the wide use of plastic materials in Nagaland.

Kohima contains a considerably large amount of plastic bags in every nook and corner of any street, public places and most notably markets, the study said.

Another member of the society added, “With help from the Governor we got supplies of the raw material for the first time. We would be able to earn from this by supplying to shops since plastics are banned in Nagaland. We want to request others to help us and support our group so that we will be able to make more.”

This group makes around 400 bags per day and is given out to shops at a wholesale rate.
According to reports, the Kiphire Town Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KTCCI) have banned the use of plastic and polythene bags within Kiphire town from January 2019. It was also part of KTCCI’s “safe environment and Kiphire polythene free-town” initiative, as per their release.

The Mercy society hopes that the group will be able to supply more in near future and is planning to go to other districts and constituencies to give training on paper bag making.

One of the other organisations involved in this initiative is Team green, a member of which said, “We want to make Dimapur cleaner, greener and better. We have planted trees along the dividers on the highways. And the public should also come forward to assist in the movement.”

Officials of the region are optimistic that plastic-free state can be achieved with cooperation and efforts from individuals, communities, and authorities.