By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 29 Sep: A consultation was held on ‘Plastic Pollution: Issues and Challenges in Uttarakhand’ at a local hotel on 28 September. The project is supported by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and is being partnered by the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI). The consultation was the inception meeting for the programme which is titled ‘Counter Measure-2 (CM-2). The CM-2 objective is to study the policy gaps and counter measures in place for the burgeoning plastic waste in the mountains of Uttarakhand, primarily coming down in the tributaries of Ganga as well as Ganga itself. The consultation was chaired by PD Rai (former MP, Sikkim) who is also the President of IMI and is currently visiting Dehradun. The consultation was co-chaired by Dr R Dobhal, DG, UCOST, as well as Chairman SDFU, the state chapter of IMI. The programme was attended by a number of government and non government officials including NS Napalchiyal (former CS, Uttarakhand) and others from the forest department, pollution control board, Garhwal University, Wildlife Institute of India, UCOST, SDFU, Waste Warriors, MAD, SPECS among others. P Subbudhi, Secretary, Pollution Control Board of India, said that Uttarakhand produces 2000 tons of waste per day, of which about 2000 tons is plastic waste. The plastic waste is currently not being totally processed or disposed of scientifically. This is a huge problem. Ruchi Badola from WII said that plastic waste disposal from the pilgrimage and from tourist spots is one of the biggest challenges as the plastic is carried down from the rivers to the seas. Anoop Nautiyal from SDC said that political will is missing from this sector and the implementation of the policy with the support of the public is of paramount importance. Dr Brijmohan Sharma of SPECS said that there are 10,000 rag pickers in Dehradun, alone, and if they were not active the city would become one gigantic mess, so they should be included as the post important stakeholders in this scenario. The CM–2 programme will study the policy gaps, IEC material as well as the different capacity building programmes which are presently being implemented. This will be implemented by IMI and SDFU in the state. The programme was coordinated by Binita Shah, SDFU. Others present were STC Lepcha, Krishna Rautella, Dr GS Rawat, Dr PP Badoni, Garhwal University, Dr DP Uniyal, Dr Mishra, and Chirag from Waste Warriors among others.