Bags hand-woven from locally available leaves have replaced plastic in Meghalaya. The decision to use leaf bags followed a clampdown on plastic bags by the municipal board in state capital Shillong.
According to urban affairs minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, the eco-friendly bag, for non-food items would be the traditional 'pla iew'. Edible commodities, on the other hand, would be carried in a leaf bag called 'sla'.
"Such a decision was necessary," Lyngdoh said. "The once crystal clear river Umkhrah, which passes through the heart of Shillong, has become polluted mainly because of clogging due to plastic bags. Even lake Umiam (20 km north of Shillong) has become a dump yard for various forms of plastic."
In order to mean business, Lyngdoh's department confiscated plastic bags from various shops in Shillong last week. The bags filled up two trucks.