Under the Swachhata Pakhwada 2019 – a 15-day clean-up initiative taken up by the government, which has started from September 1, MHRD and UGC has asked all the colleges and schools to ban the use of plastic within and outside their premises. The decision is in the anticipation of the mass revolution to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the use of single-plastics from 2nd October with an aim to scrap the use of plastic by 2020. University Commission Grants (UGC) has already released orders and guidelines for every schools and college across the country to ban the single-use plastics in the campus.
The guidelines state a systematic ban on the use of any plastic material inside the institution’s campus and replace them with environmental friendly substitutes.
To deal with the immediate crisis and ease the process of plastic-free campus, the guidelines state that, “Install necessary alternative facilities like water units to avoid the use of plastic water bottles, and encourage the use of alternative solutions like cloth bags, paper bags, etc, instead of plastic bottles, bags, cover, and other goods on campuses.”
The guidelines also stated, “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 state.” It has also asked the institutions to encourage students to avoid the use of plastic in their households and neighbourhood and make them aware of its harmful effects on the environment.
According to India Today, “The guidelines also ask the higher education institutions, which have adopted villages under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, to undertake a campaign in their adopted villages till they are converted into ‘plastic-free villages’ through promoting awareness and encouraging the shift to alternative products.”