Published: 03rd September 2019
Plastics banned in all schools, colleges across India after MHRD, UGC diktat
MHRD and UGC has requested governments to issue appropriate instructions to all schools and colleges in all State/UTs in the country to avoid the usage of single-use plastic
India is set to impose a nationwide ban on any kind of single-use plastic — such as plastic bags, cups, and straws from October 2, 2019, in its most sweeping measure yet to stamp out the harmful single-use plastics from cities and villages that rank among the world's most polluted, an official MHRD notification said. Under the Swachhata Pakhwada 2019 — a 15-day clean-up initiative taken up by the government, which has already begun on September 1, the ministry has asked all schools across the country to avoid the usage of single-use plastics outside and within the premises of the educational institutions in all states and Union Territories. Along with this, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also issued guidelines to higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is leading efforts to scrap the usage of single-use plastics by 2022, is set to launch the nationwide ban with a prohibition on as many as six items on October 2, the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, the official notification said. The items will likely include plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets.
MHRD has requested states to issue appropriate instructions to all schools in all State/UTs in the country to avoid the usage of single-use plastic, both within and outside the school premises during the observance of the Swachhata Pakhwada 2019 from Sept 1 to 15, 2019.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address from the Red Fort on the occasion of the 73rd Independence Day, the MHRD in its notification said that they urged the nation to make India free from single-use plastic. "As we know single-use plastic drastically impacts the environment in a harmful way. Single-use plastic after usage is mostly dumped in landfill sites, choking the water supply and drainage system and damaging the environment due to its non-biodegradability. A nation-wide campaign will be launched on October 2, 2019, towards making India free from single-use plastics. You are therefore requested to issue appropriate instructions to schools in your State/UT to avoid the usage of single-use plastic, both outside and within the school premises," said the MHRD circular.
The UGC guidelines state that the institutions should systematically ban the use of plastic on their campuses and replace it with "environment-friendly substitutes." It also mandates that every higher education institution in the country should ban single-use plastics in canteens, hostels and shopping complexes in the institution's premises. "Carry out awareness drives and sensitisation workshops on the harmful impacts of single-use plastics, mandate all students to avoid bringing non-bio-degradable plastic items to the institution, install necessary alternative facilities like water units to avoid the use of plastic," the guidelines said.
The UGC guidelines also ask the institutions to encourage the students to sensitise their respective households about the harmful effects of plastics and make their households 'plastic-free'. The guidelines are an effort to encourage the universities and colleges to adopt policies and practices towards a cleaner and plastic-free campuses.