As rural areas of the state are worst affected with the plastic waste due to lack of collection and disposal of garbage, the panchayats in Himachal Pradesh are gearing up to tackle the issue with sustainable models.

Concerned over the issue as the rural landscape is getting littered with plastic waste, State Rural Development department is training Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) representatives to adopt sustainable models to recycle the waste and overcome the growing problem.

For this, a campaign under Swachh Bharat has been launched and possibilities are being explored to set up waste treatment plants on the lines of Aima panchayat in Palampur area of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Aima panchayat pradhan Sanjeev Rana, who has now been appointed as regional coordinator of Swachh Bharat campaign by Rural Development Department, is conducting awareness and training programme for PRIs representatives.

“We have conducted surveys in Mandi, Hamirpur and Una districts to setup garbage treatment plants and so far, we have identified 3-4 sites in each district to start such units,” Rana told The Statesman.

He said after training PRI representatives, they would be given field visit of Aima panchayat to get firsthand knowledge of the functioning of the garbage treatment plant.

“Soon, such plants would be set up in these districts to resolve the issue of waste treatment and management,” he added.

After setting up waste treatment plants in these districts, the state government would also focus on other areas in the state and Chamba district would be covered next under the project, Rana added.

It is worthwhile to mention here that Aima panchayat had set up waste treatment plant with public participation by using Israeli technology and the model was even appreciated by HP High Court and National Green Tribunal.

Garbage is collected from every household in Aima panchayat for which an annual fee of Rs 300 is charged and then, the organic waste is converted into manure while plastic waste is converted into construction material.

Earlier, the plastic and other waste material that was generated in the area used to be dumped in landfill site but that was leading to other environment-related issues and causing health issues among locals too.