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PM’s Award for Excellence- another feather in the Cap of Himachal Pradesh

PM’s Award for Excellence- another feather in the Cap of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for the year 2009-10 for the initiative in Sustainable Plastic Waste Management in Himachal Pradesh is another feather in the cap of the State for its outstanding performance and achievements in various fields during last three years. The latest award has proved beyond doubt that efforts of the State in the direction of environment preservation and conservation have not only been acknowledged but recognized beyond that.
Himachal Pradesh has been taking pioneering efforts in environment protection by adopting innovative strategies for protecting the fragile ecology of Himalayas. It has emerged as the first State in the country to march towards achieving Carbon Neutrality. State Government has also drawn up a master plan with the support of the World Bank for making Himachal a complete Carbon Neutral State.
In its efforts to keep the environment neat and clean the use of Plastic carry bags have been completely banned in the State. Going one step forward, it has been decided to ban the plastic cups, plates and glasses etc. with effect from 15th August, 2011. State Government has also been gearing up to provide alternative to consumers. Environment friendly solutions have been identified for the disposal of the plastic waste. Institutional mechanism is in place for plastic waste management. ‘Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao’ campaign was launched in the State and masses were associated with it which made it a big success. Not only this, Chief Minister and senior officers were also involved in this campaign. Under the scheme, polythene was collected through NGOs, Organisations, institutions, panchayats, urban local bodies and rag pickers.
In order to make this scheme a grand success, buy back scheme for plastic waste has been launched. State Government is purchasing collected plastic waste at Rs. 3 per kg and an additional rupee is being given as handling charge. The collected plastic waste being purchased by State Public Works Department is being used in road construction. During the campaign, 311 tonnes of plastic waste was collected through 1779 collection centres so far and had been used for tarring 300 kms. of roads. Apart from using the shredded plastic in construction of roads, cement plants are also being motivated to integrate solid waste management mechanism into their plants. Hotels and resorts are also being encouraged to adopt eco friendly infrastructural facilities.
A ‘Green Journalism Award’ has also been instituted to encourage reporting on environment related issues. Eco Monitoring and Environment Auditing Scheme has been launched in the State and the students and teachers are being trained to conduct environment audit of the schools. This scheme is supplementing the environment protection campaign through educational institutions. The department of Environment, Science and Technology is supervising the scheme. Under this campaign a provision has been made to give ‘Green Trophy’ and cash prize of Rs. 25,000, Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 10,000 to schools.
A nine point ‘ Environment Conservation Code’ has been prepared to make students aware about the importance of protection of environment. Environment Fund has been created in the State.
The State’s efforts in plastic waste management have been a success. Inspired by Himachal’s success, States like Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra have been requesting the State to provide a model for plastic waste management to enable them adopt in their States.

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