February 19th, 2018
India has been chosen to host this year’s edition of World Environment Day which will focus on the battle against plastic pollution.
World Environment Day falls on 5 June every year and aims to raise public awareness and protection for the environment.
The Un estimates that every year around 500 billion plastic bags are used across the world every year, while half of all plastics we use are either single-use or disposable.
The concern with plastic pollution has grown in recent months, with, for example, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, announcing a 25-year plan to reduce single-use plastics last month.
China also recently moved to ban the importation of solid waste including plastic. Ireland is likely to be badly affected by this, as China takes in a large percentage of Ireland’s plastic waste.
India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan, said that his country was “excited” to host the event.
“Indian philosophy and lifestyle has long been rooted in the concept of co-existence with nature. We are committed to making Planet Earth a cleaner and greener place,” he added.
“If each and every one of us does at least one green good deed daily towards our Green Social Responsibility, there will be billions of green good deeds daily on the planet.”
Moves to ban plastic in India
India has long struggled with its plastic waste problem and is now looking to become a world leader in plastic recycling, with roughly 90 per cent of its PET waste recycled in 2017, for example. Last year, India’s capital city of Delhi introduced a ban on disposable plastics.
Maharashtra, India’s second most populous state, is also set to implement a ban on most single-use plastics next month.
The ban will include single-use plastic bags, flex boards, banners, disposable containers, and utensils. Certain packaging used for food will be excluded from the ban, however.
Certain type of plastic bags was banned in the state in 2006 following severe floods in Mumbai which were largely influenced by plastics clogging the city’s drainage systems.
The state government is also reaching out to citizens at the local level, offering financial incentives to villages and municipalities that take the initiative and tackle plastic pollution themselves.