A serious threat is posed to the environment in Himachal's Shimla district due to the unending dumping and burning of polythene and plastic material in and around despite a prevailing ban on plastic bags in the State.
Many environmentalists and individuals from the general public in the city are a worried lot. Burning polythene or plastic bags and material in the open at various localities of the city despite ban is spoiling the environment.
One can find a lot of plastic dumps across the city.
Besides, plastic waste can be seen lying around municipal dustbins and it is being burnt in forests where large amounts of garbage are dumped, all at the cost of the environment.
Local people, the elders in particular, are a worried lot with the situation and demand a stern and quick action from the municipal authorities to check this menace.
"Pollution is spreading because they are burning plastic. Despite a ban, people, mostly the tourists from the plains litter it everywhere and some arrangement needs to be done to mitigate this nuisance. It is posing serious danger to the air and drinking water," said Swarnalata Sood, an elderly resident.
The garbage dumping sites on Shimla-Kalka national Highway usually presents a chain effect of smoke caused by burning of plastic material.
Environmentalist believe that tourists are not checked when they bring their luggage into Himachal and a lot of plastic material is being thrown by them.
"Many tourists come to the hills and bring a lot of things. Packing materials are mostly made of plastic. Tourists, when they go for sight-seeing or any religious place in the State, carry along their materials in polythene bags but throw it on their way," said Ramesh Sharma, an environmentalist.
"Despite ban on plastic and polythene, people are using it secretly in houses. For instance, polythene pouches are used to pack milk. The rag pickers or the municipality are not aware of separating the plastic from the dumps so that it can be properly utilised," he added.
Meanwhile, the Shimla District administration while expressing its concern over the prevailing condition believes there is need for mass awareness.
The Deputy Commissioner of Shimla District said that steps towards check on the use of polythene bags are being taken and it becomes very important to make people aware.
"The Municipal Corporation of Shimla is taking lead in this regard. Secretary, Principal Secretary of Science and Technology had held a meeting a few days back and stressed on the need of adopting some scientific method for processing polythene material. At present to my knowledge, it is being dumped and avoiding burning of polythene materials so that the gases materials do not dilute the environmental hazard at the cost of citizens' health," said J. C. Rana, Deputy Commissioner of Shimla District
Shimla is a major attraction for tourists. But the local residents feel they ought to be enlightened not to bring along plastic or polythene materials which is left behind as waste and garbage.
Himachal Pradesh is the only State in the country which has banned plastic.