The State government signs a deal with a cement company to reuse 17 tons of plastic waste collected by rag pickers and other volunteers as fuel replacement for coal to make building bricks. ‘We are trying to find out different ways to get rid of the plastic, which have blocked our streams, rivers and polluted the streets. One of the ways is to use them as fuel in cement factories,’ said Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma.
The pollution control board has been asked to monitor the ambient air quality so that harmful chemicals are not released in the air after burning of the plastics. The cement company will pay Rs 30 per kg to the scrap dealers who collect plastic waste. This is part of the State government’s ‘Plastic Challenge’ initiative to involve local companies and tribal bodies in the plastic waste management process, and is looking into different ways of turning plastic waste into usable products.
Even though Meghalaya has had a plastic ban since 2018, it imposed a complete ban on the use of plastic cutlery, bags, water bottles, styrofoam cups and more, on September 1, 2019. The State is also one of the first in the country to construct a road made out of plastic waste in its Nongstoin town, followed by another in Tura town, this year.