Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went picking up trash on Saturday from a scenic beach resort where he is hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping for summit talks.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Modi and Xi are meeting in the southern town of Mamallapuram, home to centuries old wind-swept temple monuments but also popular with tourists for surfing in its perfect waves.
But Modi released a video of himself going “plogging” an activity where joggers combine their run or walk with picking up the trash on the beach outside his luxury resort early on Saturday.
He collected plastic bottles – on which he has declared war – as well as banana skins and other litter in a big plastic bag, as the waves rolled into the shore in his latest effort to highlight the lack of cleanliness in public places in India, according to Reuters report.
“Plogging at a beach in Mamallapuram this morning. It lasted for over 30 minutes. Also handed over my ‘collection’ to Jeyaraj, who is a part of the hotel staff,” he tweeted.
“Let us ensure our public places are clean and tidy! Let us also ensure we remain fit and healthy.”
Indian cities have some of the world’s highest levels of atmospheric pollution but they are also among the dirtiest with piles of garbage lying in big centres like Delhi and Mumbai because of rapid urban growth and poor governance.
Modi has called for an end to the consumption of single-use plastics by 2022.
Concerns are growing worldwide about plastic pollution, especially in oceans, where nearly 50% of single-use plastic products end up, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, studies have shown.
Modi gave a personal tour to Xi of the Shore Temple, dating back to the seventh and eighth century and other ancient monuments that are part of UNESCO’s world heritage sites and which were emptied of all visitors for the two-day summit.
Proposals to improve ties hit by Kashmir
Xi and Modi held several hours of one-on-one talks in a southern seaside Indian town in their second annual summit designed to break through decades of distrust between their countries over border disputes, a ballooning trade deficit and China’s close military ties with India’s arch rival, Pakistan.
“Yesterday and today we have engaged in candid discussions and as friends,” Xi said in opening remarks as the two leaders sat down for formal talks with their delegations.
“I look forward to further discussions, I may follow up on proposals discussed yesterday,” told Reuters without elaborating.
Ties were ruffled when India revoked the special status of the Himalayan territory of Kashmir in August, angering both Pakistan, which claims the region and its all-weather ally China.
Modi noted in his opening remarks that he and Xi had agreed to manage their differences prudently and not let them snowball into disputes.
The neighbours are expected to move forward on a set of confidence building measures along their border including border trade, tourism and even joint military patrols to boost trust, officials said.
India and China share a 3,500 km (2,200 miles) border, over which they went to war in 1962. Its course remains unresolved despite more than 20 rounds of talks.
Modi took Xi on a personal tour of temple monuments dating back to the seventh and eighth century at Mamallapuram in southern India when regional leaders had trade ties with Chinese provinces.
India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders spent nearly five hours discussing bilateral issues that have often been fraught.
The two leaders discussed economic issues, including India’s $53 billion trade deficit with China in 2018/19, and ways to tackle it, Gokhale said.
China, for its part, was expected to urge India to take an independent decision on telecom equipment maker Huawei’s bid for India’s proposed 3G network and not be swayed by U.S. pressure. The United States has asked its allies not to use Huawei equipment, which it says China could exploit for spying.