The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines to universities and higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic, after the UP government also imposed the ban.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi  in his Independence Day speech  and monthly radio broadcast Mann ki Baat emphasised on the need to conserve our environment and urged citizens to eliminate the use of single-use plastic.

He said, “When we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary, we’ll not only be dedicating to him an open defecation free India but also kick-starting a mass movement for making India plastic free. I appeal to all to celebrate this year’s Gandhi Jayanti by freeing Mother India of plastic.”

Modi will be launching a mass revolution against single-use plastic from October 2 to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

The UGC guidelines says that the institutions should systematically ban the use of plastic on their campuses, canteens, hostels and shopping complexes in the institution’s premises and replace it with “environment friendly substitutes.”

The guidelines states:
1. Carry out awareness drives and sensitisation workshops on the harmful impacts of single-use plastics.

2. Mandate all students to avoid bringing non-bio-degradable plastic items to the institution.

3. Install necessary alternative facilities like water units to avoid the use of plastic.

Encourage the students to sensitise their respective households about the harmful effects of plastics and make their households plastic-free.

4. Higher education institutions, which have adopted villages under the ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’, should undertake a campaign in their adopted villages till they are converted into ‘plastic-free villages’.

5. The guidelines are an effort to encourage the universities and colleges to adopt policies and practices towards cleaner and plastic-free campuses.

UGC guidelines  that plastic waste has emerged as one of the biggest environmental concerns adversely impacting the soil, water, health and well-being of citizens at large and that time has come for a systematic campaign to reduce the usage of plastics.

It added that the educational institutions have the unique spread and influence to educate the students and households on the need to avoid the usage of plastics.

Uttar Pradesh government too, on September 1, implemented the ban on plastic having thickness less than 50 microns with a fine up to Rs1 lakh and six months in jail for violators.