by Conscious Reminder
While addressing the 14th Conference of Parties at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked world leaders to join him in an effort to entirely eliminate single-use plastics in the next few years.
Single-use plastics are roughly understood to be disposable plastics that are used largely in packaging. These include plastic bottles, bags, food wrappers, straws, and stirrers, among others.
Research has found that they have devastating consequences on the environment, particularly the world’s oceans, where 50% of all single-use plastics end up. It is not only destroying marine life but is also entering the human food chain. Single-use plastics also fill up landfills, significantly contributing to land pollution.
PM Modi’s vision for India is to eradicate all single-use plastic by 2022. The government is accordingly planning to ban up to six different single-use plastic products on October 2 this year, to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
Plastic bags, plastic straws, plates, cups, bottles, and sachets are slated to be banned. While various states in the country have previously banned the use of plastic carry bags, this is geared to be the first Centre-led initiative.
Earlier this year on 15th August, PM Modi brought up India’s plastic consumption in his annual Independence Day address. He urged both citizen and government officials to take the first step in curbing the use of plastic for the betterment of the environment.
The ban will be quite comprehensive, covering not only consumption but also manufacturing and imports. It will supposedly cut down 5% of India’s yearly plastic waste.
However, there is a lack of clarity within the government about the ban. While former Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said last year that India is looking to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022, the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says there is no upcoming ban. Instead, the government will focus on collecting nearly 10,000 tons of uncollected plastic waste.
PM Modi didn’t add any detailed comments about his plan to phase out single-use plastics at the UNCCD address. But he did elaborate on how India is fighting against land desertification and water scarcity.
With India taking over the presidency of the Conference of Parties, Modi added that he hopes they will be a significant contribution to UNCCD’s work.
The problem of single-use plastics is plaguing the whole world, with different countries taking different approaches to solving the problem. But everyone has agreed that it must go.
The United Nations Environment Assembly held earlier this year concluded that many countries aim to majorly reduce single-use plastics by 2030.
If the plastic ban does take effect from October 2, India will have made a bold move in tackling what is both a national and global menace. Hopefully, the rest of the world soon follow it as an inspiration.
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