INDIA’S Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week made the ambitious commitment of eliminating all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.
The country of 1.3 billion people hosted World Environment Day on Tuesday, the theme of which was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. The unprecedented announcement will see India move away from single use plastics, where it currently generates 5.6 million tonnes of plastic each year.
“It is the duty of each one of us, to ensure that the quest for material prosperity does not compromise our environment,” Modi said in a statement.
The government also announced its sign-on to the UN’s Clean Seas campaign, which will see the establishment of a campaign to clean up the country’s 7,500km of coastline and a program to measure plastic waste from India into the ocean.
“The choices that we make today, will define our collective future,” said Modi. “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.”
Environment minister Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated that all Indian states would ban single-use plastics by 2022 in order to “achieve the India of our dreams.”
“India is already a global leader in recycling,” wrote Vardhan in the Hindustan Times. “We’re also a leader in innovation. That’s why we’re committed to leading the world in finding solutions to this problem.”
An estimated eight million metric tonnes of plastic goes into the world’s oceans each year – equivalent to a full garbage truck every minute.
The UN estimates that the world uses 500 million plastic bags per year.