Greenpeace India has termed the recent move by the environment ministry declaring all protected areas in the country 'plastic-free zones' as a "symbolic initiative" and said production of plastics should be controlled to achieve real reduction in such wastes.
It has directed states and Union territories to organise awareness campaigns to sensitise people about the issue.
Greenpeace India said although banning plastic in protected areas is a "good move", the solution is to "turn off the plastic tap" and decisively end non-essential, single-use applications of the material.
"It's a symbolic initiative, as 'protected areas' cover only 5 per cent of land area. Plastic consumption needs to be reduced at the source and production should be controlled to achieve real reduction in plastic waste," Climate and Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace India Nandikesh Sivalingam said.
He said there are already protected areas in some states where plastic items or bottles are checked while entering and it is ensured that they are checked again to see whether the items taken in are there with the persons or not.
Sivalingam said it is important to expand the move to reserved forests as well.
"The solution is to turn off the plastics tap and decisively end the non-essential, single-use applications of the material.
"Increasing public revulsion over single-use plastics should be seen by policy makers and regulators as a sign that citizens want from their leaders better protection against the continuing onslaughts of an industry committed to pursuing bigger profit margins at the expense of a planet already drowning in plastic," he said.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had on Friday tweeted,"@moefcc bans plastic in any form in all protected areas and declare them Plastic Free Zones ahead of #WorldEnvironmentDay2018."
"Directs states & UTs to organise awareness campaigns to sensitise people. Protected areas in Bengal and Odisha are already plastic free zones," he had said.
India will host the World Environment Day this year.
United Nations environment chief Erik Solheim was in the country recently and he signed a letter of intent on India hosting the World Environment Day.
Elaborating about the move, environment secretary C K Mishra had said all protected areas and forest reserves will be plastic-free zones and it will be mandatorily enforced.
"Non-recyclable plastics have been banned. Various steps will be taken so that plastic is not allowed inside the protected areas," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)