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India initiating a very large campaign to become plastic free nation: Modi at UNGA

India initiating a very large campaign to become plastic free nation: Modi at UNGA
Highlights

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the world that India was initiating a very large campaign to make the country a plastic-free nation.

United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the world that India was initiating a very large campaign to make the country a plastic-free nation. Addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly here, Modi called for the United Nations to be free of single-use plastic."As I came in here, on a wall at the entrance to this building, I noticed the call to make the United nations free of single-use plastic," Modi said.

"I am pleased to inform this august assembly that even as I am addressing you today, a very large campaign is being started across the entire country to make India free of single use plastic," he said during his address. India has been advocating for the elimination of single-use plastic for long and Prime Minister Modi has used several international platforms to emphasise on the product's ban.

During the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August, Modi highlighted India's large scale efforts towards eliminating single-use plastic, conserving water, harnessing solar energy and, protecting flora and fauna for a sustainable future.

According to the Environment Ministry, about 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country, out of which only 13,000-14000 tonnes are collected. Experts have maintained that the problem lies in the inadequate collection and recycling systems. During his Independence day speech this year, Modi urged people to kick start a new revolution against plastic from October 2, which would be the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and make India a plastic-free nation.

He urged startups and experts to find ways to recycle plastic, like using it in building highways and appealed to shopkeepers to have boards in front of their shops.

During the recently concluded 14th conference of parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) hosted by India this month -- Modi said that it was the time to say"goodbye" to single-use plastic urging people to attempt curbing its use. In guidelines issued to states and union territories earlier, India's environment secretary had said all government offices must completely ban all types of plastic carry bags, thermocol disposable cutlery and discourage the use of artificial banners, flags, flowers, water bottles, plastic folders, etc.

The ministry had also notified Plastic Waste Management Rules in March 2016 making source segregation of various types of waste mandatory.

Single-use plastics, also referred to as disposable plastics (use and throw items), are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items intended to be used only once, before they are thrown away or recycled, the ministry had said.

Single-use plastics include carry bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.

By Yoshita Singh

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