Ban On Single Use Plastic A Boon For Odisha Tribals

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government’s decision to ban single-use plastic from October 02 may seem like a loss to city dwellers but it will come as a blessing for the tribals residing in Odisha’s forest-rich regions, who are expecting an upturn in their income.


As soon as plastic products are banned, the focus will shift to biodegradable materials, leaf plates and bowls, which are one of the obvious choices, The Hindu has reported. The inhabitants of forest-fringe villages are traditionally involved in leaf-plate making in 22 out of the 30 districts of Odisha.

Close to five million people in Odisha are currently involved in leaf plate-making, using both hand and machine stitching. They depend on two major forest leaves of forest species – Sal and Siali, for their earnings. In some districts, tribal women have already formed groups (SHGs) /federation to get a better deal.

“Odisha’s leaf plate and bowl market is worth 1,500 crore. While 2.5 million people, mostly tribals, are Sal leaf pluckers, around 1.5 million are Siali leaf pluckers. Around one million are connected with other leaves,”  Chittaranjan Pani, a leading expert in non-timber forest product trade told The Hindu.

Odisha government will enforce a complete ban on single-use plastic from Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, 2019. An order, issued by the General Administration Department Principal Secretary Sanjeev Chopra, has directed the state government employees not to use PET water bottles, plastic cups and plates in the offices during official meetings. Earlier, the ban was imposed in six cities – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur and Berhampur on October 2 last year.

There is also heavy penalty for violation of this order. As of August 2019, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had collected Rs 8. 84 lakh as fine from violators.

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