New Delhi: During the 59th edition of the programme, PM Modi once again highlighted the importance of plastic-free surroundings and lauded a group of scuba divers, who are imparting training in Vishakhapatnam, going up to 100 metres from the coast and taking out the garbage.
“Within 13 days, they removed over four tonnes of plastic waste from the sea,” Modi said, adding, “If everyone takes pledge to clear plastic waste from the surroundings, plastic-free India can become a new inspiration for the whole world.”
“Our forefathers put a lot of emphasis on nature, environment, water, land and forests as they understood the importance of rivers and tried to inculcate a positive mindset towards rivers in the society,” the PM said, stressing on the need to create a plastic-free India.
This is not the first time Modi has taken up the issue of cleanliness and shared his vision of making the country a plastic-free nation.
In September, addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Modi had called for the UN 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," he had said.
"I am pleased to inform this 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," PM Modi had declared during his address.
During the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August, too, Modi had 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.
Then in October, he had taken to plogging — jogging while picking up litter — on a Mahabalipuram beach and called upon people to “ensure our public places are clean and tidy”.
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.