For the 43rd edition of the World Environment Day - an event observed by the United Nations on 5 June every year to encourage worldwide awareness for protection of the environment - India is the global host for official celebrations to take place.
While plastic has many valuable uses, Nigeria has become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic - with severe environmental consequences. "We are already the fifth largest producer of solar energy and the sixth largest producer of renewable energy", he said.
This follows a cabinet resolution dated Jan 23 that ordered several ministries including his and the Interior Ministry, as well as a number of other agencies, to launch a campaign to reduce the use of plastics in both the public and private sector.
India produces about 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year.
Plastics are seen as posing a threat because such waste does not degrade easily and harms the environment both on land and at sea - as highlighted in recent days by the case of a pilot whale that washed up in a Thai canal in the far South and was found to have ingested 80 black plastic bags, considered a major contributing factor in its death.
"If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish". According to the Vardhan, only 60 percent of this gets recycled. "We need fish, not plastics".
In some countries, such as South Africa, it has been reported that funds raised from the plastic bag levies are not entirely used in investing in recycling programs and programs that will bring about fundamental behavioural changes both at the individual or at the corporate level, towards beating plastic pollution for good. But if we have an army of volunteers it would take us less than 20 years to eradicate single-use plastic from India. They are also channelled towards creating empowerment opportunities for the teaming young population.
The U.N. made a series of recommendations to make plastics bans more effective, from encouraging more co-operation from businesses to offering incentives.