The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has made a vow to ban single-use plastics in the country by 2022.
It is the most ambitious global action to eliminate plastics, and the plan seeks to cut down on the amount of plastic waste created by the 1.3 billion people who live in India in the fastest growing economy in the world. In addition to the pledge, India also announced a national marine litter campaign along with a program to measure the amount of plastic that enters the country’s coastal waters. India is also moving towards making 100 national monument sites litter-free, including the Taj Mahal.
In an interview with The Guardian, the Indian Prime Minister stated “The choices that we make today will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”
In a report issued by the UN on June 5th, World Environment Day, dozens of nations are now taking action to reduce plastic waste and ban single-use plastics. Some of these efforts include a move to biodegradable bags in China, a ban on plastic bags in Kenya, and a ban on styrofoam in Sri Lanka.
Narendra Modi emphasized his point by stating “Environmental degradation hurts the poor and vulnerable the most. It is the duty of each one of us to ensure that material prosperity does not compromise our environment.”
Scientists have estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. This will be a direct result of the ways in which we produce, use and dispose of plastic. Over 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year, and it’s harmful effects are being seen around the world. The sheer amount of plastic in the ocean has even led to the formation of ‘Trash Island’, a floating patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, which has grown to be three times the size of France. The move to ban single-use plastics is a fantastic step towards eliminating this waste.
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Reik Solheim, head of the UN Environment, told the Guardian “Let there be no doubt: we are on edge of a plastic calamity.” He then went on to praise the efforts being made by India, saying that the country has “shown that political motivation, turned into practical action, can inspire the world and ignite real change.”
India’s progressive move to ban single-use plastics is a step forward in the right direction. Hopefully, we will see many more countries following their lead in the near future.
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