The Taj Mahal is among 100 monuments in India that will go litter-free in a bid to beat plastic pollution in the city of Agra and beyond, according to India’s Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The move comes in conjunction with World Environment Day on June 5 and is part of India’s participation in the Beat Plastic Pollution project that is this year’s theme. Major global corporations like Coca-Cola are also engaging in the campaign. The project focuses on creating a circular economy for plastic waste by generating value out of used plastic and reducing litter.
Efforts from the Taj Mahal and other historic sites include segregating plastic waste generated near the monument for recycling, encouraging visitors to “Beat Plastic Pollution,” and launching mass consumer awareness campaigns about the negative impacts of single-use plastics in a bid to change consumption patterns. The monuments will also make the surrounding 500 meters in each historical site litter-free.
With the Taj Mahal, and the city of Agra, a globally-recognized symbol, it’s “all the more important that Agra sends a message around the world that enough is enough when it comes to the ugliness of plastic pollution,” says Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
Plastic Pollution Gets the Nod
The Beat Plastic Pollution campaign is a theme of this year’s World Environment Day, hosted in India. Major global companies have recently joined the movement in India to address the problem of plastic pollution.
Coke India and South West Asia, for example, is touting its pledge to recover and recycle one bottle for every one put out in the market by 2030. The company is also working toward making all of its packaging recyclable.
Infosys plans to replace PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) water bottles, plastic carry bags, and other plastic items used at its campuses with environment-friendly materials, while Hilton Group is eliminating plastic straws across its hotels in Asia Pacific by the end of 2018. It is also shifting away from the use of plastic bottles at its conference and event spaces.
According to The World Economic Forum, India 60% of the amount of plastic waste dumped into the world’s oceans every year (via the Economic Times). And 45% of India’s plastics produced are single-use products, says Shri Raghavendra Rao from India’s Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. “That is a major problem.”