New Delhi, June 5: Even as the Narendra Modi government continues its push towards a Clean India with its flagship programme ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, India remains one of the top rankers across the world in sending plastic debris into the ocean.

Every year, the European Union holds official celebrations in a different host country. This year, it chose India to host the World Environment Day, asserting several reasons, including the nation’s vast population and speedy economic growth.

The theme for the World Environment Day 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. In an event organised by the Embassy of Sweden in the national capital on Monday, ploggers of India and European Union jogged around the India Gate while picking up litter, to encourage people towards a clean and plastic-free Delhi.

Plogging is a Swedish fitness trend which involves people collecting garbage while running, so as to keep the body fit while doing the bit for the environment.

On one hand, Delhi is on focus on this World Environment Day. But in the meanwhile, it continues to be one of world’s most polluted cities with plastic pollution playing a major contributor in it.

While the city banned plastic bags way back in 2009, and further imposed ban on all plastic packaging and single-use disposable plastic, its effects are rarely visible as plastic bags continue to be used in almost every house.

According to a survey carried out by global research firm Ipsos, as many as 87 per cent Indians are concerned about the alarming effects of non-recyclable waste, particularly plastic bags, plastic packaging and other disposable objects.

In a statement falling in line with the survey’s findings, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that only 60 per cent of 25,000 tonnes of “plastic pollution” generated daily gets recycled.

“Some 25,000 tonnes of plastic pollution is generated in the country every year of which only 60 per cent is processed while rest 40 per cent is pure litter… We mean business and will tackle this menace with all strength,” Harsh Vardhan said at a press conference.

He, however, appreciated the achievements of the Centre, saying that the international community believes that India will achieve its pre-2020 or COP21 targets before time.

According to a Times of India report, India generates around 0.60 million metric tons of plastic waste every year, of which 0.09-0.24 million metric tons is dumped into oceans. Delhi tops the list generating 689.52 tons of plastic waste every year.