Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Monday said a policy would be framed to find alternatives to plastic within a year and industries would also be encouraged to seek substitutes for plastic. Presiding over a state level function on the World Environment Day here, Sukhu said that gradually thereafter, the state government would enforce a complete ban on use of plastic.
Emphasising on utilisation of plastic waste in road construction, he also called for incorporating culture and environment-oriented courses in the educational curriculum to promote environmental awareness amongst children, an official statement said.
The chief minister said that his dedication towards shaping a greener future for Himachal Pradesh was visible in the first green budget which emphasised on addressing environmental issues.
Funds have been allocated for renewable energy initiatives besides focusing on combating single-use plastic, and the government’s vehicles will be gradually replaced with electric vehicles in the next three years, he added.
Quintessential Gandhian: Cong hails Lal Bahadur Shastri's contribution on his birth anniversary
Himachal Pradesh is taking the lead in establishing green corridors thereby becoming the first state in the country to do so and infrastructure development is underway for this purpose, he said. According to the statement, the government is also focusing on the production of green hydrogen. The chief minister said that a target has been set to transform Himachal Pradesh into a ‘Green Energy State’ by March 31, 2026.
At the event, Sukhu was presented with a jacket made of recycled plastic waste as a symbol for promoting environmental awareness, it said. He also inaugurated an exhibition of various self-help groups and other organizations.
Speaking on the occasion, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, Dia Mirza, highlighted the adverse effects of plastic waste and its presence in human blood stream through intake of various eatables. The government and industries have to think together to tackle this menace, she said and exhorted them to work with collective responsibility.
Director, Environment, Science, Technology and Climate Change, Lalit Jain said that this year the World Environment Day is being celebrated on the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ to create awareness about plastic pollution. The chief minister also distributed awards for environment preservation.
Earlier, Sukhu flagged off an awareness rally from his official residence Oakover. Cyclists also joined the rally, the statement said.
Students of Government Senior Secondary School, Portmore, Government Senior Secondary School, Sanjauli and Shimla Public School, as well as volunteers from the Shimla Municipal Corporation, took part in the rally, it said.
Emphasising that the state government has implemented several measures for the preservation of the environment, Sukhu said Himachal Pradesh is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic. Recognised as Devbhoomi, Himachal Pradesh aims to instil a sense of environmental consciousness among the youth through awareness drives, he said.