Indian State an Example of Successful Plastic Ban
In India, a nationwide ban on single-use plastic products went into effect this week.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said his government's goal is to make India completely free of single-use plastics by 2022. Single-use plastics are products designed to be used only once and then thrown away. These include plastic bags and products used for eating and drinking.
As the country prepares for the new rules, one Indian state is looking back on its decision to ban plastic bags 21 years ago.
The state of Sikkim, in India's northeast, launched the ban in 1998. State officials took the action after heavy rain caused several major landslides in the area. Experts partly blamed plastic waste for blocking systems that carry away rainwater.
People living in the state say major education campaigns and enforcement measures got citizens to accept the plastic bag ban.
Priyadarshinee Shrestha is a team leader with the World Wildlife Fund in Sikkim. She told VOA there was "a lot of policing" during the first days of the ban. "There were fines if people were caught carrying plastic bags," Shrestha said.
Prabha Sherpa sells products in a store in the state capital, Gangtok. She told VOA that major public education campaigns were very helpful in turning people against plastic bag use.
She says she remembers young children explaining to her that they had been taught at school about the environmental harms of plastic. Dealing with the material is particularly a problem in Sikkim, where Himalayan mountainsides leave limited space for waste dumps.
"We stopped using it happily because we understood that it is good for us," Prabha Sherpa said. She added that many people have willingly followed the plastic bag ban.
Most people shopping at the city's main vegetable market bring their own cloth bags to collect their goods. Restaurants in the area serve food on plates made of paper or plant material instead of plastic.
Some believe Sikkim's small size – with just over 600,000 people - helped make the campaign a success. Studies in recent years by environmental groups found that the bag ban was more successful in Gangtok and nearby towns than in outlying areas.
Environmental groups say that while the state's plastic bag ban has generally worked well, other plastics remain a problem. Among those still commonly seen are polypropylene bags, which look like cloth but are made of plastic. A lot of plastic material is used in single-use food packaging also. In addition, tens of thousands of visitors to the state leave behind thousands of empty plastic water bottles.
Rajendra Gurung is head of the Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim. He told VOA it is a difficult problem because "plastic is so omnipresent." His organization has called on companies to create environment-friendly water containers but he says "that is not happening."
Some communities are taking action. In the northern village of Lachen, visitors are banned from bringing in plastic bottles or leaving plastic waste. Many tourists learn about the ban from local taxi drivers. The community-driven project came about as the result of a cleanup organized by volunteer groups.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.volunteer groups 志愿者组织
Volunteer groups have led the effort to remove the trash dumped near Mount Fuji.
2.outlying areas 偏远地区
We searched the entire facility outlying area.
3.be free of 免于；摆脱
The marriage was a failure and they both wanted to be free of it.
4.plastic bag 塑料袋
He tied the ends of the plastic bag together.
5.Some communities are taking action.
taking action 采取措施
We are taking action, having been in receipt of a letter from him.
It was widely believed that Powell had stampeded the Government into taking action.
6.Single-use plastics are products designed to be used only once and then thrown away.
thrown away 扔掉
Luckily, iron can be reworked and mistakes don't have to be thrown away
No one will eat this food; it might just as well be thrown away.
印度总理纳伦德拉·莫迪表示，印度政府的目标是截止到2022年，印度完全脱离一次性塑料 。一次性塑料这种产品的设计初衷是使用一次即可丢弃 。一次性塑料包括但不限于塑料袋、用于食物、饮品的一次性塑料包装 。
位于印度东北部的锡金邦于1998年颁布了这一禁令 。该邦官员是在暴雨致该地出现多次重大滑坡后实施了这项举措 。一些专家认为，滑坡的部分原因是塑料垃圾堵塞了疏散雨水的系统 。
Priyadarshinee Shrestha是世界野生动物基金会锡金分部的负责人 。 她对美国之音说，在禁令实施的头几天，出现“很多整顿”现象 。Shrestha表示：“如果被发现携带塑料袋，将面临罚款” 。
Prabha Sherpa在邦首府甘托克的一家商店里出售产品 。她告诉美国之音，大型的公共教育活动对于人们反对使用塑料袋有极大的帮助 。
她表示，她记得年幼的孩子向她解释，他们在学校被告知有关塑料对环境的危害 。 在锡金邦，处理这种材料尤其困难，因为那里的喜马拉雅山脉给废物倾倒留下的空间有限 。
Prabha Sherpa说：“我们很乐意弃用塑料袋，因为我们了解这对我们有好处 。” 她补充说，许多人愿意遵守塑料袋禁令 。
在该市的主要蔬菜市场，多数购物者都会自备布料手袋 。该地区的餐厅利用纸制或植物材料制成的盘子盛装食物，而不是塑料盘子 。
一些人认为，锡金邦只有60多万人口，规模较小，这有助于宣传活动并取得成功 。环保组织近年来的研究发现，对塑料袋的禁令在甘托克和附近城镇比偏远地区更有效 。
一些环保组织表示，虽然锡金邦的塑料禁令总体来说收效甚好，但其他类型的塑料依然是个问题 。其中，依然十分常见的问题出自聚丙烯材料，这种袋子看起来像布料，但其实是塑料制成的 。许多塑料材质的东西也用于一次性食物包装 。此外，无数锡金邦的游客也留下了数不尽的空塑料瓶 。
拉金德拉是锡金邦生态旅游与保护协会的负责人 。他在接受美国之音采访时表示，塑料问题很难解决，因为塑料无处不在 。拉金德拉所在的生态旅游与保护协会已呼吁各公司打造环境友好型水容器，但他说，目前这一点还未实现 。
一些社群也在采取行动 。北部的拉钦村不允许游客们携带塑料瓶或者丢弃塑料垃圾 。很多游客从当地司机口中得知塑料禁令 。由社区主导的这一项目是许多志愿者组织清除塑料活动的结果 。