“Our primary aim at the moment is to help switch from single-use plastic in offices, household dustbins to a biodegradable alternative,” says Bunty Sethia of Jain Trading Concern. “Even though many people know about the dangers of plastic, eliminating it fully from our lives is difficult.”
Sethia says that if alert consumers start boycotting single-use plastic asking manufacturers and service providers to use the biodegradable variety, it could be effective in reducing the solid waste management in Nepal.
Every year, nearly 2 million plastic bags are used once and thrown away in Kathmandu Valley alone, making up 15% of all garbage that goes to landfill sites or is burnt. Every day, an estimated 150 tonnes of plastic end up in Nepal’s garbage dumps.
Some cities like Ilam and Dharan have tried to ban plastic bags altogether, but it has been difficult to enforce. Others have banned the use of plastic below 30 microns in thickness that cannot be recycled. But there are more than 250 companies that import pellets needed for manufacturing plastic bags, and they have a strong lobby with the government—making previous bans ineffective.
Clean Nepal 2021, which has ‘Let’s Restore Nepal’s Beauty’ as its motto, is trying to spread awareness on environmental health and provide alternative options to the consumers.