Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people to shun single-use plastic and encouraged usage of jute and cloth bags to protect the environment.
On World Environment Day last year, the government had announced its intention to phase out single-use plastic like straws and cups by 2022.
"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 citizens to give up single-use plastic," Modi said on the 73rd Independence Day while addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
According to the Environment Ministry, about 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country and out of which only 13,000-14000 tonnes are collected.
Experts have maintained that the problem lies in inadequate collection and recycling systems.
"Shopkeepers should sell jute and cloth bags. Customers should adopt ways to reduce plastic usage. We must also put technologies in use to abolish plastic usage," the prime minister said.
He also stressed that people must buy indigenous products and strive to make the policy of "Make In India" a success.
"Let us all resolve to use products made in India. Let us resolve: local products for a lucky tomorrow, local products for a beautiful tomorrow and local products for a bright tomorrow.
"Let us come out in groups, in schools, colleges and collect plastic, wherever it is whether it is on the streets, in the drains and deposit them. Municipalities should make arrangements for their disposal," Modi said.
He urged startups, technicians to find ways to recycle plastic like using it in building highways and appealed to shopkeepers to have boards in front of their shops saying," Please don't expect plastic bags here. Bring cloth bags from home or take them from us at a price."
In an innovative branding measure for businesses, Modi urged people to gift cloth bags on Diwali and said once it is carried to the market, it will advertise the particular company.
He also said farmers should also take the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to heart and pledge to reduce use of chemical fertilizer by 10-25 per cent in their farms.
"Just by doing this you will be doing a service to mother earth," the prime minister said.
The government in June this year informed Parliament that it has banned import of plastic waste from August 2019, while listing out steps taken to curb pollution.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)