A few weeks ago, I received an email from a lady telling me that she had just gotten back from Dharamsala, India. She said that they had banned plastic bags and that I should write about it. Wendy spent the months of August, September and October of 2011 in and around Dharamsala and McCleod Ganj.(1)
So, even though Dharamsala banned plastic bags almost two years ago, I agreed with her. As you know, I will publish nothing on Plastic Bag Ban Report that can't be verified. At the time of the ban, I could not get any validation. Now, I am able to present to you the verification.
I know that other states and cities in India are planning to implement plastic bag bans. Hopefully, this story will help to encourage more bans since Plastic Bag Ban Report has the fourth largest readership in the country of India, after the U.S.
Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
Dharamsala is a city located in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the north of India. McCleod Ganj is a village or suburb of Dharamsala and the home of the current H. H. The Dalai Lama and H. H. The Karmapa.
The plastic bag ban was part of a greater plan which started almost three years ago and is ongoing today. An initiative of the Department of Environment, Science & Technology of Himachal Pradesh, the Sustainable Plastic Waste Management plan began in April, 2009.
Himachal Pradesh actually started working toward sustainability in 1995 and hasn't stopped. As the report shows, Himachal Pradesh is a trail blazer. As of October 2nd, 2011, Himachal Pradesh also banned plastic cups, plates and glasses.
The State is using plastic waste blended with tar to pave roads. The plastic replaces 10% of the bitumen, saving the state money on new and replacement roads. The plastic strengthens the road and creates better resistance to rainwater and water stagnation.
Himachal Pradesh created a citizen outreach and educational awareness program through school children. The State also had awards programs and gave Encouragement Awards and Citation letters.(2)
Dharamshala is located in the Kangra Valley, in the shadow of the Dhauladhar mountains, a southern branch of the main Outer Himalayan chain of mountains. It is the winter seat of government of the state of Himachal Pradesh and the district headquarters of the Kangra district.(3)
Another viewpoint: Dharamsala Bans The Bag
(1) Wendy Pabian
(2) Sustainable Plastic Waste Management in Himachal Pradesh (2009-10)
Cover photo: Rooftop view of street in McLeod Ganj, by Wendy Pabian