The Secretary for Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) CK Mishra was taken aback to find several 250-ml plastic mineral water bottles on delegate tables during a meeting. Mishra picked up one bottle and said the use of small plastic bottles should absolutely be curtailed.

Leading by example, Mishra has banned the supply of plastic bottles for drinking water at the Indira Paryawaran Bhawan in New Delhi, which houses the MoEF. Not stopping here, he wrote a letter to Secretaries of all Ministries on June 13 appealing to them to beat plastic pollution.

“The aim of the government is to make all offices single-use plastic-free in the ensuing two months. Hence, I urge upon you to kindly instruct all officers under the administrative control of your Ministry, including attached or subordinate offices, autonomous bodies and public sector units, to phase out use of single-use plastic items in their offices. An example set by the Government will have a huge impact across the country,” Mishra told the Secretaries in the letter. Mishra told BusinessLine, in the Paryawaran Bhavan, for instance, single-use plastic items such as PET water bottles, plastic cups and plates, glasses, jugs, folders and banners are banned. Twenty-five States have completely or partially banned use of plastic, Maharashtra being the latest. Uttar Pradesh, too, is mulling a ban on plastic from July 15.

Use of single-use plastic continues unabated in public and private sectors. Of the many government offices that the Nirman Bhawan houses, for instance, each office calls for a bulk of single-use plastic bottles for mineral water, not less than a carton of 100 bottles of 250 ml, at a single time.

MoEF&CC has launched a pan-India plastic clean-up drive in public areas, national reserves, forests, beaches and rivers, the letter said, as the theme of the World Environment Day, observed on June 5 is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.

“It calls upon governments, industries, communities and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and reducing the production and excessive use of single-use plastic,” Mishra said.

According to the estimates drawn by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates as much as 10,000 tonnes per day of plastic waste with per capita generation of up to 5.7 kilos of plastic waste per annum, which is annually growing at a rate of 8-10 per cent.

Source: July 9, 2018, The Hindu