PM Modi urges people to shun single-use plastic, switch to jute or cloth bags instead

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while launching 'Swachhata Hi Seva' project in Mathura urged people to carry cloth bags to workplace & markets, and use steel utensils

Daya SagarDaya Sagar   11 Sep 2019 8:37 AM GMT

PM Modi urges people to shun single-use plastic, switch to jute or cloth bags instead

"With time, problems due to increasing plastic usage are on the rise. This plastic is killing animals and polluting rivers. It's high time we get rid of single-use plastic. We have to boycott single-use plastic from our homes, markets and workplace. People should carry cloth bags to their workplace and markets and use steel utensils," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the launch of 'Swachhata Hi Seva' movement in Mathura on Wednesday.

The prime minister helped cleaners separate plastic from a heap of garbage using a machine.

Earlier while addressing the nation from the Red Fort on Independence Day Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue of pollution caused by plastic. Appealing to the country for minimal use of plastic, he exhorted the citizens to use jute or cloth bags instead.

As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) our country produces about 26 thousand tonnes of plastic waste daily. Only a mere 20% is recycled out of it. 39% is buried with the hope of its degrading and 15% is burnt away.

What is single-use plastic?

Plastic with a level of 40 micrometres (micron)or less is deemed to be single-use. Plastic bags, straw, water bottles and food packaging packet are all made up of single-use plastic. It is neither perishable nor recyclable. It is ironical that most of our routine use is met by single-use plastic.

How dangerous is single-use plastic?

The composition of this plastic is such that it doesn't decompose easily. Plastic buried beneath soil contaminates underground water and spreads pollution. Burning up of plastic causes air pollution. As per an estimate, carbon dioxide emitted by burning of plastic shall be triple its present volume by 2030.

If single-use plastic is disposed of beneath soil it disintegrates releasing toxins thereby harming the soil's fertility. From the soil these toxins reach human body through food items and water where they cause various maladies.They adversely affect immunity, fertility besides causing cancer. Dr Himanshu Reddy, a professor at the medicine department of King George University informed: "This form of plastic is carcinogenic. It has the chemicals which may result in cancer."

Single-use plastic is deadly not only to humans and the environment but also to animals. Stray animals, grazing cows or buffaloes and dog eating plastic, fall sick. Sometimes plastic is extracted from their bodies in kilos. Likewise, aquatic animal sand fishes are getting adversely affected due to the plastic dumped in the oceans. As per a study, about 70% of plastic waste is strewn over oceans

Published in 2014 this study estimates about 5,000 billion plastic pieces are lying afloat on oceans. Only 1% of plastic waste is so seen while 99% is either ingested or hidden in oceans' base. As per an estimate, the amount of plastic waste would supersede the aquatic life in the oceans by 2050.

Will the government take some stern measures?

Prime Minister Modi in his speech on August 15, 2019 from the Red Fort appealed the shopkeepers to gift cloth-bags instead of calendars. He also informed that beginning October 2, the government shall launch a massive movement against single-use plastic. With PM's declaration it can be hoped that the government can help form a strict policy or law to this effect.

18 states of the country have already banned plastic bags

As per Central Pollution Control Board, country's 18 states have already banned plastic bags while five states have banned it in places of religious and historical importance. Nonetheless, most of the places openly defy the ban by using it freely.

The Central government has always shown concern in the matter. Environment minister Prakash Javedekar has once commented on the issue, "The government shall provide for penalty on use of plastic bags by bringing stringent laws. Any violation shall be severely penalized." He has repeated his resolve after Modi's speech and told that from October 2 a nationwide drive will be launched against use of plastic bags and promoting use of cloth-bags.

Government has targeted a total ban by 2022

In 2018, on Environment Day the government has resolved to eradicate single-use plastic from the country by 2022. Since then the government is consistently trying at its level, but is unable to show any visible effect due to lack of strictness. Now, with the PM raising the issue from the Red Fortit is hoped that the government would take a decisive step towards banning of plastic.

Chitrafrom Chintan Environment and Research Group's said that PM's addressing the issue would definitely motivate the drive and municipalities would also focus on curbing the plastic pollution. However, she adds that it may be impossible to instantly withdraw single-use plastic from the use because people have grown accustomed to it. The need is to first make people aware about the issue, making a plan and executing it step-by-step to achieve its end.

Also Read in Hindi: क्यों खतरनाक है 'सिंगल यूज प्लास्टिक', क्या दो अक्टूबर से लग पाएगा इस पर प्रतिबंध?

Also Read: The River of Plastic: Not a Faraway Story, Coming Soon to a Water Body Near You

Also Read: Modern World's Invention PLASTIC: A Blessing Or Curse?

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