It’s time the world said goodbye to single-use plastic which threatens to render vast stretches of land unproductive and unfit for agriculture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, days after he called on Indians to shun single-use plastics and to pledge on October 2 to eliminate these items in the country. The Modi Government aims to phase out disposable plastic by 2022.
Addressing delegates from nearly 200 countries at the 14th conference of parties to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the PM expressed concern over land degradation being caused by climate change among other reasons and announced that India would try to reclaim 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
“Another form of land degradation, which if not prevented, would become impossible to reverse. This is the menace of plastic waste. Apart from having adverse health implications, this is going to render land unproductive and unfit for agriculture.
“My Government has announced that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years. I believe time has come for even the world to say goodbye to single-use plastic,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also announced that India would restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. The earlier target was 21 million hectare.
The Prime Minister also said India would take pride in using remote sensing and space technology for multiple applications, including land restoration. “I am happy to state that India would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost-effective satellite and space technology,” Modi said.
The PM’s speech at the COP, which India is hosting, highlighted his administration’s eagerness for South-South cooperation in fighting problems like land degradation, desertification and droughts.
A centre for excellence under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will be set up, he announced. Apart from aiming to create scientific knowledge, it will work for South-South cooperation for those who believe in knowledge sharing, Modi added.
In his speech, Modi also listed several schemes that he claimed work towards similar goals such as the plan to double farmers’ income by 2022 through micro-irrigation and income support, use of bio fertilisers, promotion of zero-Budget farming and issuance of millions of soil health cards.
The Centre released USD 6 billion (Rs 42,922 crore) to States last week for developing forests, Modi said.
Tuesday, 10 September 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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