Narendra Modi on eradicating single-use plastic.
Narendra Modi on eradicating single-use plastic.

Economy and environment are the new buzzwords in Indian politics. Following prime Minister Modis’ speech in Mathura, the online environmental debate has taken a sharp turn from #SaveAarey to the eradication of single-use plastic and animal welfare.

Yesterday in Mathura, PM Modi launched a few welfare schemes including the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP). What sparked a stream of opinions is the part where he talked about banning single-use plastic.

In his speech, he has asked the citizens to give up on using single-use plastic before the 2nd of October, Gandhi Jayanti. This ban will increase hopes of completely getting rid of single-use plastic until 2022. Single-use plastic includes cups, straws, plastic packaging, and more.

Modis’ plan of crusading the anti-plastic movement has been gaining applaud from the masses irrespective of their political preferences and affiliations. However, a few people have raised concerns about the immediate possible repercussions of initiating a single-use plastic ban.

Former environment minister and a Congress leader, Jairam Ramesh has criticised the Modi government for initiating a blanket plastic ban. Jairam went on to say that such a ban will take away jobs from the lakhs of people employed in the versatile plastic industry, and also have a great negative impact on the already slowed down economy. Jairam justified his decision for taking the same step in the past as the environment minister saying, India has a greater issue with the management and recycling of waste.

Although, there hasn’t been any official announcement on the ban. The Prime Minister has only encouraged people to stop using single-use plastic products. The union environment minister, Prakash Javadekar cleared the public confusion soon after our PM spoke about the ban at the United Nations Conference on Desertification. Prakash has hinted that there might be a ban post 2nd of October but did not confirm the speculation. He did confirm that post-Gandhi Jayanti, there will be measures in place for the collection of plastic garbage.

Not long ago to curb the use of polythene plastics, paper and cloth bags were introduced as alternatives to plastic. In the aftermath of it, most people were unaware of the type of plastics allowed and the lack of awareness on proper alternatives led people to go back to polythene plastics soon.

Now with talks on a new ban to the plastics industry, we can only hope our government has learned from its shortcomings and will take steps accordingly.

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