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United Nations Environment Assembly adopts two resolutions backed by India to sustain environment

The resolution on addressing single-use plastic pollution urges member states to develop national or regional plans, identify environment-friendly alternatives, work with research organisations and the industry to develop such alternatives, improve waste management practices.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2019 12:00 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India,New Delhi,UN Environment Assembly
This is the first time an India-backed resolution has been adopted at UNEA. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted two resolutions piloted by India on addressing single-use plastic pollution and sustainable nitrogen management.

This is the first time an India-backed resolution has been adopted at UNEA. The fourth session being held in Nairobi, Kenya concluded on Friday.

The resolution on addressing single-use plastic pollution urges member states to develop national or regional plans, identify environment-friendly alternatives, work with research organisations and the industry to develop such alternatives, improve waste management practices.

The Prime Minister had said India would phase out single-use plastic by 2022 during his World Environment Day speech in 2018.

“This is the context for India to bring up the resolution and after tough negotiations, it was accepted. However, the member states did not want the resolution to say it would be ‘phased out’,” said an environment ministry official, requesting anonymity.

So far, only 9% of the nine billion tonne plastics ever produced has been recycled. And, if the current trend continues, landfills will have 12 billion metric tonne plastic litter by 2050.

“We have generated huge quantities of plastic waste and it is not restricted to landfills in the cities, it gets into the rivers and oceans and has a massive environmental impact. Many cities have banned polybags. We now have a national policy to phase out single-use plastic as well. But on ground as soon as the policing gets lax, the bags are back everywhere. The global agreements will help in driving research into viable alternatives,” said Dr Rajiv Seth, former pro-VC of TERI school of advanced studies.

First Published: Mar 17, 2019 12:00 IST