Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2019 Independence Day speech at Red Fort urged people to shun single-use plastic and encouraged usage of jute and cloth bags to protect the environment.
According to the Environment Ministry, about 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country and out of which only 13,000-14000 tonnes are collected.
“Can we free India from single-use plastic? The time for implementing such an idea has come. May teams be mobilised to work in this direction. Let a significant step be made on October 2,” he said.
On World Environment Day last year, the government had announced its intention to phase out single-use plastic like straws and cups by 2022.
PM Modi was present at that event as was United Nations Environment Programme’s then chief Erick Solheim. India reinforced its commitment at the fourth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi last March. No policy instrument, however, has been announced since then, More than 20 states, meanwhile, have notified a full or partial ban on such plastic, Maharashtra being the first.
"Shopkeepers should sell jute and cloth bags. Customers should adopt ways to reduce plastic usage. We must also put technologies in use to abolish plastic usage," the prime minister said.
He also stressed that people must buy indigenous products and strive to make the policy of "Make In India" a success.
"Let us all resolve to use products made in India. Let us resolve: local products for a lucky tomorrow, local products for a beautiful tomorrow and local products for a bright tomorrow. "Let us come out in groups, in schools, colleges and collect plastic, wherever it is whether it is on the streets, in the drains and deposit them. Municipalities should make arrangements for their disposal,’’ Modi said.
He also said farmers should also take the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to heart and pledge to reduce the use of chemical fertilizer by 10-25 per cent in their farms.
"Just by doing this you will be doing a service to mother earth," the prime minister said. The government in June this year informed Parliament that it has banned the import of plastic waste from August 2019, while listing out steps taken to curb pollution.