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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

We shun single-use plastic at home, says Gautam Gambhir

MP and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who has put his weight behind the #PlasticSeBreakup campaign, says it will be galvanised as the PM has expressed his support

more-lifestyle Updated: Sep 13, 2019 15:14 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Gautam Gambhir is the face and co-host of Bharat Positive Initiative by Fever FM
Gautam Gambhir is the face and co-host of Bharat Positive Initiative by Fever FM
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s early morning tweet on Thursday, lauding Fever FM’s campaign against single-use plastic, has warmed hearts. The #PlasticSeBreakup campaign, part of the station’s morning Bharat Positive radio show, aims to help people realise the importance of cutting single-use plastic. Harshad Jain, CEO of the station, said, “We are grateful to our Prime Minister for his encouragement and appreciation of our Bharat Positive campaign. This gives us motivation to continue our work with greater zeal. Bharat Positive is a Fever Voice of Change initiative, the biggest CSR in the history of radio.” We spoke to former cricketer and current East Delhi MP, Gautam Gambhir, the face and co-host of Bharat Positive Initiative. Excerpts:

What are your views on the reduced usage of single-use plastic? Do you see it as a feasible and long-lasting solution?

The reduction in the usage of single-use plastic is testament of the fact that it can be eliminated completely. India is the oldest civilisation in this world. Were we using plastic since the beginning? I don’t think so. The growth of plastic was due to convenience. But when we weigh short-term convenience with long term hazards, there’s no doubt that all of us feel guilty of having used plastic. How hard is it to just carry a cloth bag while going out to shop. A change in mindset is required. If people just come to terms with the fact that by using plastic, they’re diminishing their own lives and lives of their children, I’m certain they’d do whatever they can to annihilate single-use plastic.

As a father to two daughters, how do you ensure they learn such environmental-friendly concepts early on in life?

My daughters are at an age where they observe more than they listen. So, we all follow single-use plastic-free practice at home. My colleagues at our business office, party office and even friends everyone is encouraged to follow this practice. I think it’s crucial that schools follow the practice very diligently as that is where our future is.

PM Modi has not just taken notice but also tweeted about Fever FM’s innovative campaign against single-use plastic. How does it feel?

It’s a credit to the team Fever. They are not only pure on intent but also sharp on execution. Then, it’s also a big pat on the back to the listeners of the radio station. PM sir noticing is a no mean feat, it just gives a shot in the arm. 

 

Do you agree that PM’s tweet praising this campaign will help the word spread much faster and to a wider section of society in the country?

Of course. When Mr Modi talks the world listens. There’s substance in his thoughts and he putting the weight behind ‘Plastic Se Breakup’ campaign will only galvanise the whole movement. His following cuts across age groups is another huge plus. Through PM’s support, the youth, the mid-aged and the elderly, everyone will know about this campaign.

Modi’s tweet also urges shopkeepers to take part in this campaign with vigour. As the ambassador of Bharat Positive Initiative, how do you plan to continue this momentum?

We’re doing a mass outreach to spread awareness about the negative effects of single-use plastic. I’m meeting with traders association, shopkeepers, RWAs and various NGOs working in East Delhi. This outreach was kick-started with a plastic free ‘Bhandara’ to show people that even basic food items can be distributed without the use of plastic. Even in this festive season, whenever people do such food distribution, they must avoid single-use plastic items. I also began the distribution of cloth bags and my aim is each and every person in my constituency should have that bag so they shun plastic completely. In addition, I spoke with all the councillors of my party to go on a war against single-use plastic in their respective areas.

While earlier, you supported such causes occasionally but now being an MP, things have changed. How has life on a whole changed and been so far ever since you joined politics?

My intentions remain the same. The difference is that earlier I could contribute on a personal level and spread awareness but now I have the authority to make such decisions for an entire constituency and raise issues at various official forums. For instance, earlier I used to appeal that people should reject single use plastic. But now I can contribute in bringing the law which bans single use plastic and help in its implementation.

In his recent speech, Modi said ‘My government has announced that India will put an end to single-use Plastic in coming years’. How has Bharat Positive show helped promoting this campaign and cause so far?

I do not know the extent of influence that my show has had on the overall awareness about the negative impact of single-use plastic but I always knew that this cause would be very close to our PM’s heart. His larger vision of Swachh Bharat that he has worked tirelessly for ever since he became the PM, would not be complete without eliminating single-use plastic from this country. I was elated when he started this crusade, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. His involvement has bolstered the movement beyond imagination.

Note: Fever FM is owned by HT Media Ltd.

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 15:13 IST