Hundreds of people participated in a rally organised by the ‘No Thanks I Carry My Own Bag’ initiative to celebrate the government ban on plastic bags
On 14 April, hundreds of people participated in a rally organised by the ‘No Thanks I Carry My Own Bag’ initiative to celebrate the government ban on plastic bags in Kathmandu. The campaign led by members of Gen Nep-Nation First, a youth development platform initiated by Himalayan Climate Initiative has been working to declare Kathmandu a plastic bag free zone since 2013.
Photo: Himalayan Climate Initiative
“For a moment we were worried the Supreme Court (SC) would agree to the petition filed by the Nepal Plastic manufacturers’ Association (NPMA) to put a stay order on the ban as they did in the past,” said Palzom Pradhan, campaign coordinator for ‘No Thanks I Carry My Own Bag’. “But luckily we had the support of environmental lawyers and now the ban has been enforced,” she added.
In December 2013, just two months after its formal launch, the campaign was endorsed by CA members Gagan Thapa and Rabindra Adhikari. A year later the campaign received support from popular faces including banker Anil Shah and former Miss Nepal Malvika Subba, who has been actively promoting the use of cloth bags.
Members of the ‘No Thanks I Carry My Own Bag’ campaign have been actively raising public awareness about the negatives of using plastic. Over 50 institutes are now plastic bag free zones and over 50,000 petitions were signed in support of banning the polythene bags.
The group is also working with Hamri Bahini to promote the use of cotton, jute and paper bags as affordable alternatives. Hamri Bahini which employs women from underprivileged background has so far sold 130,000 bags.
“Since our research showed that people responded better when they were given incentives, we have been providing discount cards and have introduced a discount bag scheme,” says Pradhan.
The team has sold 3,000 discount cards at Rs 10, which can be used in over 50 stores in the valley. It also partnered with stores and business houses to provide discounts to shoppers who bring their own bags.
The campaign has been coordinating with the Parliament’s Environment Protection Committee (EPC) and the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment since September 2014 to enforce the ban and ensure proper implementation. The group has also approached various stakeholders including the Retailers’ Association and the Nepal Police for implementation of the ban.
“As they say a thousand mile journey begins with a single step and this is the first step upon which we hope to achieve future successes,” says Pradhan.
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