Honolulu, Mar 19 (AP/UNB) — Hawaii would be the first state in the U.S. to ban most plastics at restaurants under legislation that aims to cut down on waste that pollutes the ocean.
Dozens of cities across the country have banned plastic foam containers, but Hawaii's measure would make it the first to do so statewide. The liberal state has a history of prioritizing the environment — it's mandated renewable energy use and prohibited sunscreen ingredients that harm coral.
A second, more ambitious proposal would go even further and prohibit fast-food and full-service restaurants from distributing and using plastic drink bottles, utensils, stirring sticks, bags and straws.
The Hawaii efforts would be stricter than in California, which last year became the first state to ban full-service restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws, and broader than in Seattle, San Francisco and other cities that have banned some single-use plastics.
Activists believe the foam container measure has a better chance of passing in Hawaii.
"We have this reputation of setting the example for the world to follow, and that's what we're trying to do here," state Sen. Mike Gabbard, lead author of the more ambitious measure, said to the Senate. "Our state can once again take the lead in protecting our environment."
Gabbard, father of Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, said 95 percent of plastic packaging worldwide is thrown out after being used once. In the U.S., 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown out every day, he said.
Discarded, slow-to-degrade plastic is showing up at sea, as in a massive gyre northeast of the Hawaiian islands, and on beaches.
Plastics also contribute to climate change because oil is used to make them, said Stuart Coleman, Hawaii manager for the Surfrider Foundation.
Eric S.S. Wong, co-owner of two fast-food establishments on Oahu, said not being able to serve food in plastic foam containers would drive up his costs at a time when he faces rising health insurance charges for his employees and a possible minimum wage hike that lawmakers also are considering.
He said he'll have to raise prices.
"Now all of the sudden, your family's $30 dining experience became $37 or $38," Wong said.
His Wiki Wiki Drive Inn takeout counter in Honolulu sells sandwiches, breakfast meals and Hawaii favorites like Loco Moco, which features white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and gravy.
A package of 200 foam boxes costs him $23, while the same number of biodegradable boxes would cost $57, he said.
Chris Yankowski of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, which represents 3,500 restaurants, said lawmakers are trying to do "too much too fast."
Yankowski, who is also president of Triple F Distributors, argued that good alternatives to plastic products are not yet available. Hawaii's cities and counties also don't provide composting facilities, so there is no organized place to dispose of compostable containers that lawmakers say restaurants should use instead, he added.
"It's almost like we want to do great things for the environment, but we're not ready to handle it when we change it over," Yankowski said.
The Hawaii Food Industry Association, which counts the state's biggest supermarkets and convenience stores as members, initially opposed the foam container ban but now supports it.
The group said in written testimony that it's encountered difficulties coping with varied local regulations and it wants the state to create a consistent standard. Two main counties — Hawaii and Maui — have already adopted plastic foam bans. Maui's took effect on Dec. 31, while Hawaii's takes effect on July 1.
The association still opposes the broader measure, which also would ban plastic garbage bags.
The president of Island Plastic Bags, a Hawaii company that makes plastic bags, said the legislation would prohibit his company from selling trash bags to nursing homes and hospitals as well as restaurants and hotels.
Grocery stores wouldn't be able to sell trash can liners, Adrian Hong said in written testimony. It would create a "public health crisis," he said.
Gabbard said his proposal was in the early stages so lawmakers have time to address such concerns.
The state Senate has passed both bills. They still must get through several House committees and the full House before heading to the governor.
Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige, said he hasn't stated a position on the measures yet.
Justin Macia, a pharmacist in Honolulu, said he would like people to use less plastic and stop using plastic foam entirely because of how long it takes to degrade. Cardboard containers would be a great alternative, he said.
"It's definitely something that's got to go," he said, after eating a sandwich from a foam takeout box.
Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB)- Well, when I first heard the name, the first thing popped into my head was ‘WAR’. This could be a very dangerous, risky, unsafe place to explore. This is how I summed up my visit to Kargil.
Kargil was definitely not in my plans. I went to Ladakh last year and got to know that two world famous tourist attractions, Pangong Lake and Nubra Valley were not accessible to Bangladeshi visitors. So, visit to Kargil was my plan B.
At first, I was deeply skeptical about going there but my guide assured me that this would be worth a visit.
I was still under same impression until I reached to Kargil. Believe me, I was totally wrong.
Kargil is an amazingly beautiful town surrounded by mighty mountains, followed by Suru River.
A 218-kilometer long Kargil-Leh highway was beyond beautiful. This exhilarating road journey was a combination of adventure and bliss surrounded by various structured mountains, stunning untouched landscapes, turquoise water of Suru River, zigzag hilly roads and historical constructions in some places.
This trip made me realise one thing that, when you're truly on road, deep inside, you start feeling every part of Mother Nature as your travel partner.
On the way to Kargil, I’d witnessed countless mountains with so many different colors- 50 shades of brown, black, purple, green, golden and what not. The fall colored grass and turquoise water of Suru River added a unique dimension to the scene. Oh! How can I forget?
Before reaching to the town, we went to Kargil War Memorial. This place is a beautiful concoction of emotions, sacrifices and respect.
After entering the rustic town, we finally got the chance to see the faces where 90 percent local population comprises Muslims. They are different from the people of Ladakh. I found the Kargil local a tad conservative by nature. So, we didn’t talk to them much and headed towards our hotel.
The next day early morning, we started our onward journey to Leh after a hot breakfast. Here my favorite chapter comes.
On the way back to Leh from Kargil, we found the road adorned with pink Sakura blossoms (also known as Cherry blossom). I almost screamed with joy after seeing this gorgeous pink beauty. Our chauffeur cum guide stopped us on the road side and allowed us to get some pictures.
When I first saw the cherry blossom path, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was so unreal, beyond all expectations. I felt like I was in a movie set. At that moment, I kept photo shooting on with every possible pose with this unbelievably beautiful view.
We started again. After few miles, we took a chai break. We stopped at a tea shop where we had the best `Adrakwali Chai’ (ginger milk tea) and the taste was different, blended with fresh air. AHH!
To head to Leh, we had to go through many passes, monasteries and moon land. It seemed like an alien world to me. It was worth by all means to explore the unexplored.
By: Farah Seraj
Dhaka, Mar 14 (UNB)- The 14th edition of an international motor vehicle exhibition 'Dhaka Motor Show-2019' had its curtains raised on Thursday.
The fair, divided into three segments - Dhaka Bike Show, Auto Parts Show and Commercial Automotive Show is arranged by CEMS Global and is taking place at International Convention Center, Bashundhara (ICCB).
Minister of Industries Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun inaugurated the 3-day long exhibition.
In his speech he stressed the improving of local automobile parts manufacturers saying that country will soon start producing cars at local plants.
He also credited Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's contribution for the improvement of country's industrial sections.
Dhaka Motor Show 2019 will see automobile industry leaders like Peugeot, Honda, Toyota, Honda, Haval, TVS, Suzuki and more showcasing their latest car and bike models.
The fair will continue till Mar 16.
Dhaka, Mar 9 (UNB) - Travelling is fun, just like a breath in fresh air. My each journey is made of countless stories, meaningful memories and new discoveries. Exploring new things is the best part of my every journey. There are lots to learn while visiting new places. I am always open to new experiences, get to know the people and the culture of each new place I visit and all memories end with some kind of change. And the feeling is different, oh-so-refreshing!
Last year, I went to an incredible country `INDIA’ and explored four cities in Rajasthan and Agra for one week. But here I will share my unforgettable experience of my first camel safari in the Golden city ‘Jaisalmer’.
Jaisalmer, the ancient fort city is famously known as `Golden City’ of India because the yellow sandstones used throughout the every architecture of the city that shines like gold. The main attraction of Jaisalmer is to ride a camel through the rolling sand dunes of the Thar Desert.
When I first came across some wonderful shots of Thar Desert in my Instagram explore, they straightaway got stuck so deep in my mind.
My dream came true when I first stepped into the sand dunes. I was totally overwhelmed to see this dusty golden beauty.
Before getting into there we needed to book our camel safari. There are loads of companies in every alley of the city offering safaris. But I was lucky enough to get the booking done by our hotel owner. It was a great deal, only 600 rupees for two persons whereas others were offering 1,000 rupees per person. Isn’t it great???
Then I met my super cute camel ‘Bablu’ and climbed aboard for our sunset ride out into the desert. When the camel stood up, I was up high...YAY!!!
At first, the ride was a bit less comfortable but when my camel started plodding along I got to enjoy the scenery. During the ride, my little camel handler stopped us in the mid of the desert for taking insta-worthy desert and camel pictures. Click Click!
After one hour of riding, we reached our designated sunset point and sat on the sand to admire the sunset. OH! This was so beautiful, surreal and so romantic. I can never forget this magical view over the barren sand dunes.
Post sunset we headed towards the hotel. Though we missed the desert, safari camp under the sky was full of stars. I think, I will come back just to experience this desert campfire. All I can say, it was truly an incredible experience to witness this dramatic desert life of India. I just love every bit of it.
By: Farah Seraj
Roswell, Feb 23 (AP/UNB) — A New Mexico woman is on a desperate hunt for her disappearing pet that can't run fast and can't be missed — a 100-pound tortoise.
KOB-TV reports Dusty the Turtle went missing earlier this month in Roswell, New Mexico after strong winds knocked open a gate that housed him.
Shana Emmert, who was pet sitting Dusty for her niece, says she believes the turtle strolled away from the backyard and into the desert during the wind storm.
According to Emmert's neighbors, the 100-pound (45-kilogram) Dusty was last spotted near Berrendo Creek in Roswell and hasn't been seen since.
The family is offering a $500 reward for the turtle's safe return.