Connecting with the youth and students from various parts of the country virtually on the issue of elimination of Single Use Plastic, Shri Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that one of the most important Climate Actions that we can take individually is to bring in conscious changes to our lifestyles and stressed that there is no Planet B reminding all that that what we have is not a parental property rather a loan from our future generations.
Shri Yadav emphasized that public participation is a must for success in our mission to manage plastic waste and reduce single use plastics and said that we all need to act as trustees of our environment.
The Union Environment Minister administered the Green Pledge to the students and youth who had joined the virtual webinar from across the country, in the presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
Keeping in view the clarion call of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to phase out single use plastics by 2022, “Awareness programmes to avoid the use of single use plastics” has been identified as one of themes for the Iconic Week celebrations of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, from 4th to 10th October, 2021.
As a first amongst a series of events, under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,students, youth, eco-clubs and youth organizations, joined the interactive webinar and green pledge taking event for students and youths, on ‘Elimination of Single use Plastics’ from all across the country.
During the interactive webinar, a call for action was made to the student and youth of the country to develop a public movement around elimination of single use plastic. The power of students and youth to become change agents was highlighted and the various opportunities available for students and youth to organize themselves for action were showcased.
Behavioral change is one of the most important and effective tool to move towards avoiding the use of single use plastics, which have low utility and high littering potential and students and youth are the key change makers towards bringing about behavioural change in the society.
The webinar had students and youth from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra sharing their experiences on the actions they take took in their communities to reduce plastic waste and single use plastic. The Students and youths pledged to do their best to protect earth and its natural environment, minimize waste generation, practice reuse, avoid single-use plastic materials, use cloth bags instead of plastic bags, clean-up the environment, plant more trees, conserve energy and water.
As part of Iconic week celebrations on awareness programme for avoiding single use plastics, the states and union territories have been requested to take up awareness activities, targeting school students and youth, citizens and citizens groups, industry, market associations, involving urban local bodies and gram panchayats. The regional and subordinate offices/ institutions/bodies associated with the Ministry shall also undertake awareness generation activities on single use plastics to have pan India presence.
The Single use plastics have emerged as a serious environmental threat if it remains littered. The plastics get into water bodies and are carried to oceans and seas adversely impacting the health of marine ecosystems and environment. Wider participation of citizens is a vital element to address single use plastic product pollution.
The Ministry has adopted a strategy focusing on behavioural change, strengthening of institutional systems for collection, segregation and recycling of plastic waste and engaging with industry. Sustainable consumption and production is the need of the hour. Awareness generation is an important tool in avoiding the use of single use plastic and effective plastic waste management.
Students and youths through NCC, NSS, Youth Clubs and Eco-clubs may help build an environment towards avoiding the use of single use plastics and also may help in effective management of plastic waste.