As a part of ‘Swachhata Hi Seva 2019’ the FSSAI organized an event at Prayas Children’s Home and Skilling-Livelihood Centre, Jahangirpuri in North-East Delhi which was graced by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan. At the event, twenty-two of the top food companies including multinational companies signed a voluntary pledge and committed themselves to effectively manage plastic waste in their operations and reduce their plastic footprint in the coming years. The event was organised to give a big push to plastic waste free India with support of various stakeholders including policy makers, food and beverage sector, industry associations, celebrities and consumer organizations.
Jahangirpuri is one of the largest resettlement colonies as well as the largest collection, sorting and distribution centre of ragpickers in Delhi. The Prayas Centre houses some of the most deprived children, women and youth including large number ofrag pickers from all parts of Jahangirpuri. Therefore, the Prayas Centre was selected by FSSAI as the venue in order to sensitize the key partners about the challenges of plastic waste collection and segregation.The event was supported in public interest by Dabur as part of their mission towardsspreading community awareness and a strong sense of commitment for environmentalsustainability and was joined by senior officials and thought leaders of several other foodbusinesses and industry associations including CII and FICC
The event saw a participation of over 200 children, citizens and other partners. Children from Prayas staged a playon ‘disadvantages of use of plastic’ along with a danceperformance on FSSAI’s theme song on plastics, which was also launched during theevent. FSSAI has adopted the theme song “Tik Tik Plastic” first released by BhamlaFoundation. This foot-tapping song reiterates the need for a plastic waste free India and issung by several renowned singers and musicians. Additionally, FSSAI also organized afood donation drive at Prayas through a food donation agency MCKS Food for HungryFoundation, New Delhi, which is a part of its Save Food, Share Food initiative.
As part of the plastic waste free agenda, FSSAI has itself taken up a drive for reductionand where possible elimination of plastics in its head office and offices across thecountry. It has initiated a collection and segregation drive at its own head office in New Delhi. FSSAI has mobilized several food businesses to organize similar activities at theircampuses and engage their workforce, thereby ensuring a wider reach. It has also askedall its regional offices and State/UTs food safety departments to conduct awareness andcollection drives at public places in their State capitals and major cities during‘Swachhata Hi Seva 2019’ campaign period.FSSAI’s regional office in Mumbai has also organized a similar engagement drive in thecity involving famous playback singer Shri Shantanu Mukherjee (popularly known asShaan). Committing himself for the cause, Shaan highlighted that this drive is the need ofthe hour and encouraged all his fans to contribute actively and make plastic waste freeIndia, a reality.
In appreciation of the event organised by FSSAI, Dr Harsh Vardhan congratulated all the stakeholders for organising the engagement activity to motivate and mobilize masses towards the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision for a plastic waste free India. He emphasised the need for all stakeholders to join handsto make plastic free India a ‘JanAndolan’. He further said that he has personally pledged to eliminate allsingle-use plastics from his life and urged everyone, the industry, children and citizens todo the same and to gift the future generations a cleaner and greener environment.
Speaking at the event Pawan Agarwal, CEO FSSAI reiterated the need for the food sector to step forward as“plastics are mostwidely used in the food and beverages sector and therefore, food businesses have greaterresponsibility in managing plastic waste. He admitted that “FSSAI was thus far concernedonly about safety of packaging material, now FSSAI would also focus on sustainability offood packaging too.” He also stated that FSSAI would review all its regulations, particularly packaging regulationsand view them through the sustainability lens. It would also promote reduction in use of plasticsin food packaging, find suitable alternatives and ensure that plastic used is recycled andbusinesses participate in collection and recycling of plastics.