The speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day made noise for all the right reasons. He set the ball rolling for the nation’s next phase of development, announcing various schemes that the nation will surely stand to benefit from. What set this address apart from others was his appeal to the nation to do more to save the world and fight climate change. The speech touched upon the topic of population control, as well as his vision to make India free of single-use plastics by October 2.
At a time when we’re seeing the effects of climate change and the destruction caused by global warming ( The Amazon Fire and the melting glaciers in Greenland come to mind), the efforts to save the Earth have become much more important. It is high time that countries and organizations take responsibility and lead the fight against climate change. With news coming in that as many as 6 single-use plastics will be banned in the country by 2nd October, which is also the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, let us look at the 5 top initiatives that India is taking to save the planet!
1. Ban on Single-Use Plastic
A nationwide ban is said to be imposed on single-use plastics from 2nd October 2019. These include plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets. The move is expected to clip 5% to 10% from India's annual consumption. With 50% of single-use plastic products end up, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the ban on single-use plastics can only be a good thing for India!
2. Initiatives For Cleaner Air
With an Al Jazeera report claiming that India has the world’s worst air pollution, government efforts to tackle this problem were the need of the hour. With its recent efforts, India has done exactly that. India has formally joined the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) underlining the country’s commitment to combat air pollution with a solutions-oriented approach. In addition to this, the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) launched in January 2019 is a comprehensive strategy with actions to prevent, control and reduce air pollution and improve air quality monitoring across the country. The Plan aims to reduce fine particulate (PM2.5) and particulate (PM10) air pollution by 20 per cent–30 per cent by 2024, which can only mean a good thing for better air quality in India.
3. Focus on Development of Solar Energy
With the ill effects of burning fossil fuels and the harm it causes to the planet known to all, the shift to renewable sources of energy couldn’t come fast enough. India’s efforts when it comes to this are really impressive, with several initiatives helping the country reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. As a result of the efforts, India has established itself as the second-largest solar market in the world! The country has also realised that it is cheaper to build and operate solar farms than to run existing coal-fired power plants. Tax incentives to go solar, penalties discouraging fossil fuel production and specialised bodies specifically targeting development of the solar energy sector all have played an important role. All this has ensured that the costs for setting up solar PV projects have dropped by about 80 per cent in India between 2010 and 2018.
4. Going Electric To Combat Climate Change
The future when it comes to transport is electric. While the Central Government’s plan to ensure all vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 is certainly ambitious, they’re doing everything to make that a reality. Government-owned power companies such as Bharat Heavy Electricals and Energy Efficiency Services plan to begin rolling out charging stations soon. The latter is looking at 10,000 stations over the next two years. The recent announcement of reducing the GST rate on electric vehicles(EV) from 12% to 5% and providing an additional income tax deduction of 1.5 lakh rupees on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase EVs will surely incite consumers to adopt Electric vehicles.
With these efforts, the Indian government has clearly conveyed its stand when it comes to tackling climate change. Let’s hope the latest initiative to reduce the use of single-use plastics is a successful one and gives imp