Plastic garbage becoming "threat" in Himalayan regions: Environment Scientist

May 27, 2023

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], May 27 : Environment Scientist Dr Suresh Kumar Atri on Friday expressed his concern over the plastic waste damaging the Himalayan ecosystem and biodiversity in the north Indian hill region and said, it is becoming a "threat" to the people.
"The littering of plastic is becoming a serious threat. We are receiving 200 tons of plastic in the forest of the Himalayas. If the Himalayan region is not preserved the entire downstream area will get affected. More than 700 million people will get affected. Dumping plastic in soil decreases its fertility," Environment Scientist Atri said told ANI.

He further said, "Plastic choking leads to flooding, and sometimes even animals eat plastic which disturbs the animal ecosystem. We work very hard to control the pollution menace due to plastic use."
"We are involving school children in cleaning the plastic litter. It's unfortunate to see people come here and throw the garbage. People must come forward to beat plastic pollution," he said.
The Environmentalist at the State Environment, Science and Technology Department said that the Hill state has made efforts to stop the plastic menace.
"We decided to ban plastic earlier in 1999 and in 2009 a certain level of micron and penal provisions are also there for littering. Packaging plastic was banned in 2013 in Himachal Pradesh and it was challenged and it got stayed by the apex court," he added.

The age of degradation of plastic is more than 400 years, the plastic bottle takes more than 1000 years to degrade, it remains in the system with the life cycle of humans, microplastic is also getting into our whole chain is getting effective, Environment Scientist said.
The renowned Indian agriculture expert and environmentalists Devendra Sharma believe that plastic waste is not only hitting biodiversity and farming it also blocks the rivulets and Nallas.
"There have been cases in which cattle die due to plastic, this is a serious aspect, the other aspect is what do you do when it blocks the rivulets and Nallas, which is affecting agriculture. That Himachal Pradesh is a state which alone has 1 per cent of the global diversity has to be much more sensitive to control the usage of plastic," Sharma said.
Meanwhile, the local residents demanded the authorities take action and provide dumping arrangements to collect the plastic garbage.

"The tourists come here and they throw garbage here, we demand that the authorities should install a dustbin here. We have cattle here for grazing and they eat plastic waste. Plastic is not good for the environment here," said Savita, a local resident.
"The local villagers are worried about the degradation of biodiversity; it is a threat to our cattle. The tourists come here and throw garbage. It is unfortunate that educated people are doing it. It is also creating a threat to our crops," said Chet Ram, a local farmer.
Moreover, one of the tourists who visited the place said there is a need to place dustbins and execution should be done.

"This is a beautiful place, lots of people come here to see the beauty of the Himalayan region but we have seen the garbage thrown in beautiful locations that need to be controlled. The dustbins are not kept in the places," said Vijay Patil a tourist.
He further said, "It is our duty to keep the surroundings and our cities clean but we are not doing it, as citizens of India we should follow our duties. The government is doing but lots more needs to be done."