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PM Modi’s Pledge on Single-use Plastic Gets Loud Cheers From UN General Assembly in New York

Addressing the 74th session of the UNGA, PM Narendra Modi said India has initiated a very big campaign to be free of plastic and called for the UN to be free of single-use plastic as well.


Updated:September 27, 2019, 11:47 PM IST
PM Modi’s Pledge on Single-use Plastic Gets Loud Cheers From UN General Assembly in New York
PM Narendra Modi addresses the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on Friday. (PTI)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received applause at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as he 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 UNGA in New York, Modi 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," 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 products 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 aplastic 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 14thconference 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.

Single-use plastics, also referred to asdisposable 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.

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