PM’s ‘Mann-ki-baat’: Shun low-quality plastics, polythene


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to desist from using inferior quality plastic materials as they adversely affect the environment, particularly marine and wild life.

Addressing the nation in the 44th edition of the monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat, the Prime Minister said India is the official host of this year’s International Environment Day on June 5 with the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.

“While trying to understand the importance of this theme, we should all ensure that we do not use low-grade polythene and low-grade plastics and try to curb the negative impact of plastic pollution on our environment, on our wildlife and our health,” he said.

A number of Indian States have already banned the use of plastic bags made of low-grade polythene as they remain in the environment for thousands of years. Each year, it is said, over 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide and nearly 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans annually.

The Prime Minister also stressed upon the need for living in harmony with nature and said many of the calamities that people witness today are as a result of humans being at loggerheads with nature.

Homage to Nehru

He also used the opportunity to pay homage to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whose death anniversary fell on Sunday, and to freedom fighter Veer Savarkar, who was born on May 28, 1883. He said this was the very month in 1857 that Indians had displayed their strength against the British.

“In many parts of the country, our youth and farmers demonstrated their bravery whilst standing up against injustice. It is indeed sad that we kept on calling the events of 1857 only as a rebellion or a soldiers’ mutiny for a very long time,” Modi said.

“In fact, May 1857 was not only evaluated as a minor historical incident but was also an attempt to dent our self-respect. It was Savarkar who boldly expostulated by writing that whatever happened in 1857 was not a revolt but was indeed the First War of Independence,” he added. In his radio speech, the Prime Minister congratulated the six young Naval women commanders who circumnavigated the globe by sailing 22,000 nautical miles over 250 days and a team of school children from Maharashtra who climbed the Mount Everest.

“If you look at the journey of human evolution, you will notice that breakthroughs in progress have taken birth in the womb of some adventure or the other. There is an umbilical link between development and adventure; the resolve to achieve something, the burning desire to do something unparalleled, the sentiment proclaiming ‘I too can do it’,” Modi said.

He said when he talked of ‘Fit India’ two months ago, he didn’t realise it would receive such an overwhelming response.

“When I say ‘Fit India’, I believe that the more we play, the more we will inspire the country to come out and play…Everybody is now getting connected with this Fit India Campaign. People from the film fraternity, from the world of sports, common citizens of the country, members of the armed forces, school teachers or even those toiling in fields and farms, their rising notes are building up a crescendo ‘Hum Fit toh India Fit’ (If we are fit, India is fit).

Fit India

“For me, it’s heartwarming that the captain of the Indian cricket team Virat Kohli has included me in his challenge… and I too have accepted his challenge. I believe this is gainful and this kind of a challenge will inspire us to be fit along with others, as well,” Modi said. The Prime Minister also reminded the listeners about the International Yoga Day which falls on June 21, and said he was glad to know the preparations are afoot all over the world to celebrate it.

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