Kashmir has placed itself in a leading role for rest of India – the Valley is going to have first environmental friendly bio-plastic manufacturing unit, which will produce carry bags out of potato and corn starch – burying need for polythene once and for all.
Polythene has been banned in Kashmir and the people have said goodbye to its use.
It is a call for preservation of environment that Kashmiris have heard, perhaps taking a cue from an ubiquitous J&K Bank hoarding on almost all electric poles in this city that greets the visitors and residents alike: “I am listening“ to all sorts of questions, complaints, suggestions. These words are printed on pictures of artisans, elderly women, young men.
They have said goodbye to the use of polythene.
Here it is an unique combination of a broad smile and one word expression “ sorry” by shopkeepers or salesmen to customers asking for carry bags of polythene.
“We have ordered carry bags from outside, when those will come, we will give you, but not polythene,” said Sonaullah Bhat, a baker.
It is much more than the fear of the raid by authorities of the Municipal Corporation or pollution control board. “ It’s in our own interest, we have realised that, though belated,” said Mohammad Ramzan, a shopkeeper at Dal Gate, a spot frequented by tourists, many of whom start or end their walk along the boulevard from this point.
Tourists are welcome, but if they carry something in polythene bags, which they bring from their place of origin, they are politely told by the houseboat owners and shikarawallahs (the boatmen of luxury boats) to keep polythene with them and not throw it into the waters of Dal lake.
The J&K Agro Industries Limited signed a memorandum of understanding with an Italian company Messrs Earthsoul on August 4 for the manufacturing of 100% biodegradable and compostable products.
“This would be India’s first integrated biopolymer facility,” said Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir. It will come up in next six months.
It will manufacture bio-plastic from potato or corn starch. It gets decomposed in three to four months as against one million year that polythene takes to get decomposed.
At the time of the signing of the MoU, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, said that the decision to ban polythene was in the” larger interests of the state and future generations”.
Kashmir has set up a milestone on the road, which others are yet to tread in India.