A magical mountain village in the lap of the northeastern state of Sikkim, Lachung is perched at an altitude of 8610 feet. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, waterfalls, streams and apple orchards.
Just like after every party, people are left with used plastic plates, cups and spoons. Rather than making it trash, there is a setup for 100 per cent natural tableware set. And every piece there is biodegradable.
The local community have made such initiatives for going to great lengths to keep the beauty of the environment intact!
Being one of the favoured spots for tourists from all over the country, locals of teaching have seen the rise in employment opportunities. But also, they observed the growth of plastic pollution. Specifically for the single-use variety that was being left behind.
Villagers share a deep bonding with nature. This condition of the environment was not acceptable to them and they thought of taking a step.
Around 2016, people of Lachung got together for passing a law to ban the use of single-use plastics. Speaking to the renowned online portals, Thupden Lachung, a resident of the village started with the imposition of such ban they have accomplished 100 per cent freedom from single-use plastic water bottles. The Lachung Dzomsa (a traditional administrative institution of the villages of Lachen and Lachung in North Sikkim) passed the law in 2016
Also, he added that tourist was told about the no-plastic rule at the check post which is nearly 25 km away from the village. They do have a place for disposing of bottles in a bin. The moment they enter the village, the Dzomsa will do a surprise checking and the young drivers will also help in the course.
If a disposable plastic bottle is found, people will be charged or fined Rs 5000. The fine started from last year as some people were not taking the Dzomsa-approved law seriously. And finally, it was put to play.
Locals have been going to long places to make sure the law is enforced strictly. It is not about only local authorities, ordinary shopkeepers, cab drivers, guides and guest house owners, who ensure that nothing polluting enters their village. How did the village mobilise its people?
So basically a religious aspect was placed. Their religion asks not to harm others. Implementing single-use plastic is directly or indirectly harming other animals. You throw it in water, the fish dies. Throw it in the environment, more animals and the beauty is deteriorated. In all ways, there are some of the other sorts of negativity with it.
People visiting Lachung has been praiseworthy about the place. The beauty and cleanliness in the village have garnered much of the beauty. The initiative taken has brought an incredible change to society.
The signboard has been put up by local authorities informing tourists about the ban. It is a rule that no one can deny. If one has brought by mistake, you may choose to drink the water and dump it in a bin. Or transfer the water in a reusable water bottle available at every shop.
Banning single-use plastic bottles or plastic materials is just not an option. If you want to create a change, it should start from the household. Instead of plastic bottles, there is the use of bamboo bottles. There are bamboo baskets and containers also selling and used in the village.
What happens to the excessive plastic bottles that make their way through the cracks? Throwing away is not an option, locals use the same as flower pots. They also make use of it to make a house out of the bottles and plastic wrappers. “We have achieved an accomplishment in banning single-use plastic. But wanted to go ahead with it in a holistic manner. We wanted to ban all types of plastic and to do so we need help from all around the world. Everyone should come together to fight this battle. I think our coming generations deserve a clean environment. And I strongly believe that Lachung will serve as an example to other places, other people and motivate them to do without plastic,” he adds