Government to pull out all the stops to cut use of plastics

Multi-Ministry effort will begin on October 2, includes voluntary work and awareness.

Published - September 05, 2019 12:08 am IST - NEW DELHI

Shared responsibility:  Urban local bodies will segregate  waste into recyclable and non-recyclable categories.

Shared responsibility: Urban local bodies will segregate waste into recyclable and non-recyclable categories.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message on Independence Day, the Union government is working on a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single use plastics across the country, likely to kick off on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.

A presentation for the same has been prepared and circulated across the Ministries.

The nodal Ministry for the scheme would be the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, which has been asked not just to ensure and enforce the ban on single use plastics but also finalise the pending policy for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), especially on milk packets.

The Department of Industrial Promotion is to ensure that all cement factories use plastic as fuel, while the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been asked to ensure that not only is plastic waste collected and transported responsibly along National Highways but also all collected plastic waste is used for road construction.

According to studies quoted by officials, roads constructed using water plastic are durable against extreme weather conditions and are also cost-effective.

The Railways Ministry will organise massive shramdaans (voluntary work) on October 2 for collection of plastic waste at railway stations and along rail tracks and will run advertising radio spots on all trains.

Since 70% of the total plastic waste in India is from urban areas, all 4,378 urban local bodies have been tasked with massive shramdaan for plastic collection and to collect and segregate waste into recyclable and non-recyclable categories.

Gram panchayats have been asked to mobilise shramdaan on October 2 to ensure that all roads under the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana are built using plastic waste and segregate waste in rural areas.

End to plastic bags

Ministries of Tourism and Textiles have also been roped in for the campaign, including pushing for greater production of jute bags etc. to replace plastic bags. The Tourism Ministry has been asked to ensure awareness on SUPs at iconic tourist spots.

Prime Minister Modi had flagged the discouraging of SUP, population control and encouraging domestic tourism in his address. The ban on SUP is likely to be the first to be taken up among these causes with Mr. Modi aiming at 2022 as the year when SUP will be weeded out completely. A ban on import of certain plastic products is also on the anvil.

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