- PM Modi reiterates India's decision to impose a ban on single-use plastic
- PM says human empowerment was linked to the battle against climate change
- PM calls on world leaders to work together in order to effect change
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called on global leaders to follow India's decision to ban single-use plastic, declaring "time has come for even the world to say goodbye (to it)". Speaking at a climate change crisis meeting in Greater Noida, the Prime Minister highlighted efforts taken by his government to combat climate change and land desertification, stating "it is widely accepted the world is facing the negative impact of climate change".
"My Government has announced that India will put an end to single use plastic in the coming years. I believe the time has come for even the world to say good-bye to single use plastic," the Prime Minister said while delivering opening remarks at the 14th session of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
India is set to take over presidency of the Conference of Parties (CoP), the Convention's highest decision-making body, for a two-year term, and the PM said the nation "looks forward to making an effective contribution" to the world's fight against climate change.
In its most sweeping measure yet, the centre is set to impose a nationwide ban on six plastic items by October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. These six items are plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets.
The ban is expected to reduce India's annual consumption of plastic - an estimated 14 million tonnes - by about five per cent.
Concerns are growing worldwide about plastic pollution, with a particular focus on the oceans, where nearly 50 per cent of single-use plastic products end up, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, studies show.
The Prime Minister also touched upon various other subjects, including India's commitment to combat land desertification by protecting forest cover and combating water scarcity.
"Between 2015 and 2017, India's tree and forest cover increased by 0.8 million hectares," he said, adding, "When we address degraded lands, we also address water scarcity. We have created 'Jal Shakti Ministry' to address important water-related issues."
The PM also pitched India's space programme, offering "friendly countries" help to develop land restoration strategies by using remote sensing technologies.
In his remarks the Prime Minister said the battle against climate change was a global one and called on world leaders to recognise people had to work together to effect change.
"We may introduce any number of frame works but real change will always be powered by teamwork on the ground," PM Modi said.