Quit plastic, drink water from cupped hands, use ‘datun’ to brush: Meenakshi Lekhi

Lekhi said India wasted a lot of energy and resources by copying things which were not indigenous.

New Delhi: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi has suggested going back to green Indian habits of drinking water from cupped hands and using “datun” or neem twig to brush teeth to cut down on plastic use.

Participating in a roundtable consultation on ‘energy transition, subsidies, and air quality management’ on Thursday, Lekhi said India wasted a lot of energy and resources by copying things which were not indigenous.

“Why do we need even glasses and bottles? When we were in school, we would drink water from our (cupped) hands which I think is the most hygienic way because you’ve washed your hands in the process and no water is wasted in cleaning the glass,” she said in response to a query about the country’s preparedness before a complete ban is announced on single-use plastic.

“When the vegetable seller would come, we would use a cane basket. No plastic. We have also given up the practice of using datun. Now, all these plastic toothbrushes go to the dustbin and then to the landfill,” she said.

The BJP MP from the New Delhi constituency also suggested reusing old clothes for making environment-friendly bags and sanitary pads.

She said women were up in arms when 18 per cent GST was imposed on sanitary napkins, without giving a thought that “we were incentivizing polymer’.

“My grandmother, your great grandmother, everyone would have used cloth, which could be destroyed after single use. More conversation around this will help rather than pushing plastic, polymers as sanitary pads,” the MP said.

“These polymers have taken up so much of land and nobody talks about it because it becomes a sentimental issue. I used to say that instead of 18 per cent tax, it should be 28 per cent,” Lekhi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is leading efforts to scrap single-use plastics by 2022, is likely to announce a ban on a few items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Modi, in his Independence Day speech, had urged people to avoid using plastic bags, and technicians and entrepreneurs to look at innovative ways to recycle plastic.

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