Lucknow: As announced by Narendra Modi earlier during his last Mann ki Baat radio programme, the Prime Minister on Monday once again reiterated his initiative to ban single-use plastic across the country. He asserted that it was time that the world also followed suit.

“My government has announced that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years. I believe the time has come for even the world to say good-bye to single-use plastic,” Modi said while addressing the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, being held in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida.

Acknowledging the climate change and its adverse impact on the biodiversity, PM Modi said, “Climate and environment impact both biodiversity and land. It’s widely accepted that the world is facing the negative impact of climate change. It is also leading to land degradation be it due to a rise in sea levels and wave action, erratic rainfall and storms, and sand storms caused by hot temperatures.

PM Modi also asserted said that India was looking forward to making an effective contribution towards climate change as the country takes over the COP Presidency for a two-year term.

“For ages, we in India have always given importance to land, the earth is held sacred, treated as mother. In the morning when we touch the earth with our feet, we seek forgiveness. climate change impacts both – land and biodiversity,” he said.

The Prime Minister emphasised on India’s commitment to addressing all the three main concerns of the Rio Conventions, saying “India has hosted global gatherings through the CoP’s for all the three Conventions.”

Further, he announced, “India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status, from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares between now and 2030.”

Modi also said that between 2015 to 2017, India’s tree and forest cover has increased by 0.8 million hectares.

“When we address degraded lands, we also address water scarcity. Augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run-off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy,” the PM said.