FOLLOWING PRIME Minister Narendra Modi’s call on Independence Day, the central government is all set to announce a ban on a number of Single-Use Plastic items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, sources told The Indian Express.
The move is part of an ambitious drive against Single-Use Plastic (SUP), under the theme “Shramdaan”, for which a detailed plan has been worked out for ministries and departments.
The key elements of this initiative were laid out in a presentation that was made during the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Council of Ministers last week.
Among the proposals are: a total ban on SUPs; all 4,378 urban local bodies to collect and segregate recyclable and non-recyclable plastic waste; plastic waste along National Highways to utilised for road construction; cement manufactures to use plastic as fuel; Textile Ministry to ramp up production of jute bags; all gram sabhas to be plastic waste-free by 2022.
As part of the initiative, 5 lakh sarpanchs and swachhagrahis (cleanliness volunteers) will also receive personalised letters from the Prime Minister.
Besides, various ministries, including Housing and Urban Affairs, Railways and Tourism, have been asked to conduct “massive shramdaan activities” on October 2 in railway stations, tourist spots, beaches and historic sites.
All Union ministers have been advised to “offer shramdaan with ministry staff during the campaign period”. The ministries have also been asked to “mobilise celebrities” for cleanliness drives.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has been asked to ensure and enforce the ban on SUPs by all states and Union Territories. “Ban entry of SUP in Indian Himalayan region and other eco-fragile zones…,” states the presentation.
The plan includes incentives, too. For instance, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is expected to organise an international competition on innovations on plastic waste recycling. The Rail Ministry will announce an award for the best plastic-free station. And the Tourism Ministry will announce a competition among tourist spots for plastic waste removal.
Besides, Union ministers and BJP MPs and MLAs are expected to share their “plastic waste shramdaan stories” on social media, and share selfies with their alternatives for SUPs and a one-minute video on their efforts for a plastic waste-free India.