June 5 (UPI) -- India pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by the year 2022 on Tuesday.
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan announced the ambitious commitment to combat disposable plastic and "achieve the India of our dreams" by banning single-use plastic in all Indian states in honor of World Environment Day, according to the United Nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended the decision and said India's economic development can be achieved through sustainable methods
"The choices that we make today, will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live," Modi said.
Prior to the announcement, millions of Indian policymakers, celebrities, business leaders, innovators, environmentalists and activists gathered for weeks of activities aimed at taking action against plastic pollution.
As part of the festivities Modi committed to join the U.N. Environment's Clean Seas campaign and pledged to make 100 monuments in the country litter-free.
U.N. Environment also released a report Tuesday detailing global efforts to combat plastic pollution, including bans on styrofoam and non-biodegradable plastic bags.
"The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable -- with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution. In addition, action will drive the kind of innovation that will underpin the future global economy we need," said head of U.N. Environment Erik Solheim.