After a month-long campaign and trial period, Ilam Municipality has completely banned the use of plastic bags in the city. People now take a jute bag with them from home when they go shopping. Shopkeepers use either paper or leaves to wrap goods if customers don't have their own bags.
Tea entrepreneurs have agreed to use Nepali paper to package tea. The municipality has planned to maximise the use of paper and ban plastic use, except for readymade goods like noodles and biscuits wrapped in plastic bags.
The municipality recalled polythene bags from all shops and a team led by municipality executive officer Yubaraj Dahal has been monitoring the market. If a shopkeeper sells goods in a polythene bag he will be fined Rs 500, while shoppers will be fined Rs 200 for using them.
Dahal argues that the drastic steps were necessary as plastic was littering an otherwise clean and green Ilam. The municipality has set aside 38 ropanis of land (>19,000 square metres) for processing degradable waste. "Our goal is to develop Ilam as a green city within two years by processing all the waste generated here. The Finnish ambassador has promised support, and has already visited the proposed site."
Ten thousand trees will be planted along either side of the roads within the municipality, and in deforested areas. A park is being constructed in Shera village, ward No. 3, next to the proposed processing site.
Hoarding boards advertising cigarette and liquor brands have already been removed from within the municipality, which has also implemented plans to attract tourists for Nepal Tourism Year 2011.