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Traditions, Innovations and Change in Our behaviour important to combat the Single-Use Plastics usage: Prof Dhar

JAMMU: National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Govt of India, and Department of Botany in collaboration with Pollution Control Committee (PCC), Jammu, J&K Govt. organized under ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', an Awareness Programme on "Stop use of single-use plastics" today at the University of Jammu.

Prof. Manoj K. Dhar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Jammu, the Chief Guest on the occasion underscored the need for reducing the plastics menace and exhorted upon the youth to act as the ambassadors for creating awareness in reducing the usage of single-use plastic and substituting it with paper and biodegradable stuff. 

"Our traditional methods have been very eco-friendly and the time has come that we revisit those substitutes in addition to technological innovations to find viable solutions to plastics. We do hope that with the new laws banning single-use plastics items and technological innovations we will be able to gradually remove plastics from our environment and from our lives''. he opined. 

To fulfil the vision of growth envisioned by our Hon'ble Prime Minister, Narinder Modi, Prof Dhar encouraged research scholars to be ambassadors for disseminating awareness about the harmful effects of the use of plastics and motivated them to come up with novel, innovative and effective alternatives for replacing plastics from the environment. 

He also made the participants pledge to contribute individually as well as collectively to say no to plastics following the slogan of 6 R's i.e Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, and Remove Plastics. 

Prof Dhar conveyed his gratitude to the NMHS (MoEF&CC) and the Member Secretary, Pollution Control Centre, J&K Sh. Brij Mohan Sharma, IFS and his team of experts and officers for organizing this program here at the University of Jammu.

On the occasion, Nodal Officer and the Senior Scientist from the Pollution Control Centre, Jammu, Dr Yash Pal spoke at length about the recent legal status of plastic use in India and informed about the banned thickness of the PET plastics. 

He highlighted the ill-effects of using colourful polybags below the permissible thickness (50 microns) for carrying/storing edibles as they release harmful chemicals like cobalt, chromium which react with food items and render them unfit for consumption. 

He also made the gathering aware of the biodegradability status of these polybags and appealed to the general public to cooperate with the Pollution Control Centre, Jammu in making Jammu & Kashmir and India free from Plastics.

Anuradha, Scientist A, J&K PCC, Jammu stressed the need to use cotton and jute bags in place of single-use plastic bags and explained the relevance of the installation of green and blue waste bins at home and institutions for proper segregation of dry and wet waste.

She appreciated the enormous role being played by sanitation workers, rag-pickers and the recyclers who are involved in the informal collection of plastic waste for recycling.

Earlier, Prof. Yash Pal Sharma, Principal Investigator of the NMHS project while extending a formal welcome to the august gathering, informed that the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), (MoEF&CC), Govt. of India is celebrating 4th-10th October as the Iconic week Iconic Week of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and in this regard, today the Department of Botany, the University of Jammu in collaboration with the PCC, Jammu, J&K Government has organized an ‘awareness programme to ‘stop the use of single-use plastics to make the citizens of the country aware of the ill-effects of the single-use plastics and other forms of plastics causing pollution of the air we breathe, the food we eat, besides threatening wildlife and human health.

Interestingly, Er. S.C. Dutta, Managing Director, Shalimar Thermoforming Pvt. Ltd., Jammu displayed biodegradable/compostable PLA (Polylactic acid) laid an exhibition of the recently introduced disposables which are eco-friendly, safe for health and environment, and may prove to be a very effective and safe replacement to single-use plastics. 

An exhibition of banned plastic items and biodegradable alternatives to plastics were also displayed.

Prof Veenu Kaul, Head, Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu proposed a formal vote of thanks

Arshad Malik, Randeep Manhas, Anil Sharma, Dimple from PCC, Jammu coordinated the event.

Prominent among others who attended the event included officials of J&K PCC, Faculty members including Prof. Namrata Sharma, Dr Sikander, Dr Harish, Dr Geeta, Dr Skarma, Dr Harpreet, Dr Bharat Bhushan, Dr Shabana, Research scholars, students, non-teaching staff, security staff and sanitary workers of the University of Jammu.

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