New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Swachhata Hi Seva, a cleanliness initiative building up to Gandhi Jayanti on October 2 with a call to action ‘Say No To Plastic’ and ‘Make India Single-Use-Plastic Free’. Addressing the gathering of more than 15,000 people in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh today (September 11), PM Modi said, “This time, we have associated Swachhata Hi Seva with plastic. With time, plastic waste and plastic problems are increasing; it is harming our animals, rivers, water bodies, aquatic animals and what not. That is why it is important that we say no to the use of single-use plastic. We need to try to free our homes, our offices, our workspaces from single-use plastic by October 2 this year. Let’s give Mahatma Gandhi not just an open defecation free India this October 2 but also take a lead and lay the foundation of a new campaign against plastic waste.”
Urging people to make Swachhata Hi Seva and plastic-free India campaign a jan Andolan (People’s movement) just like Swachh Bharat Mission, PM Modi further added,
I urge every self-help group working in villages, from civil society, from social organizations, from youth clubs, from women’s clubs, from schools and colleges, from government and private institutions, to every individual organisation to join the campaign. We have to make our country free from plastic. We have to do this for our future generation, for our children..
Explaining the contribution of authorities in managing plastic waste, PM Modi added,
Whatever plastic waste will be collected, authorities will help and recycle it effectively. We will make use of plastic waste in building our roads. I have just not met a few women who have been managing plastic waste effectively by segregating the plastic waste and then recycling it for the manufacturers to make products. I think this technique should reach each and every village in India. This will not only help in managing plastic waste in an effective way but will also help provide employment opportunities to many.
PM Modi further said,
Waste to wealth, thinking will only help make our environment swachh. So, as we commence Swachhata Hi Seva, I urge everyone to make a change in their daily habits. Whenever you go shopping, ditch the use of plastic polybags instead take your own cotton or eco-friendly carry bags. Shopkeepers should take the pledge to stay away from plastic packaging as much as possible. I also insist on making government offices and government programmes plastic-free as well.
With a message, PM Modi signed off,
When our environment is clean, we see a direct impact of it on our health. Environment and livestock have always been a very important part of India’s economic thinking. That is why, whether it is Swachh Bharat, water life mission or promotion of agriculture and animal husbandry, balancing nature and economic development, we are moving towards building a strong and new India.
The conversation to make India plastic-free was started by PM Modi this year from the ramparts of Red Fort while addressing the nation on the 73rd Independence Day. He said, “During my 2014 speech, I spoke about cleanliness. It became a movement in the country and the common man took it up with gusto. Today, I have another request. By October 2, on the birth anniversary of Dear Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi), I want to urge the citizen to give up single-use plastic.”
Later, PM Modi took his request forward during his weekly programme, Mann Ki Baat and appealed each and every citizen to be a part of plastic-free India movement. Many celebrities and leaders have joined PM Modi and have taken his plastic-free India appeal forward.
It is being expected that the centre is set to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags, cups, straws to name a few on October 2. All these efforts are being made to scrap plastic waste from the country by 2022.
Recently, at the UN meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called on global leaders to follow India’s initiative against the use of single-use plastic. He said, “My Government has announced that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years. I believe the time has come for even the world to say good-bye to single-use plastic.”