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BEAT THE PLASTIC- Theme of World Environment Day

Global Host 2018 - India

WHAT IS PLASTIC- Plastics are organic polymers of high molecular mass and often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic, mainly derived from petrochemicals

POLLUTION DATAPlastic infrastructure report 2017, FICCI, states that India consumes close to 12.8 million tonnes of plastic per annum of which close to 5 million tonnes is rendered as waste every year

  If a polluting agent, why it’s usage continue

  • Highly cost effective
  • Ease of manufacture
  • Ease of convenience- lightness
  • Durability and Flexibility
  • Non-corrosiveness
  • Water proof

Therefore, Plastic is not the problem but littering of plastic is and  in particular the single use plastics

  • India spots 18% of global population and 2.4% of global land area .of the total waste India generates 60% plastic waste is dumped into the oceans. A world Economic forum study indicates that by 2050 oceans will have more plastics than fish.
  • Recycling (less than 50 microns ) of plastic is abysmally low at 9% - 10%

HOW IT REACHES HUMAN /WILDLIFE SYSTEM

  • Direct – Indiscriminate burning and disposal of plastic products
  • Indirect - Through food chain, cosmetics ( micro beads ) etc,

Thereby affecting the health of both human and wildlife. Marine organisms often consume it confusing it for food  Also, Marine litter is one of the potent cause of marine pollution

MAJOR ISSUES

  • Ban is not the answer, enforcement of ban will also paralyse auxiliary industries for instance - agriculture retail hotel, restaurants and dairy among many others
  • Lack of viable alternative to affect livelihoods

LEGISLATIVE MEASURES

Plastic Waste Management (Amended) Rules, 2018.

  • Strengthens concept of ‘extended producers responsibility’ whereby plastic manufacturers and retail establishments that use plastics are legally bound to introduce a system of collecting back plastic waste

CASE STUDIES

Global

  • Sweden- follows a policy of ‘No Plastic Ban instead more plastic recycling’. Thus, less than 1% of Sweden’s household waste goes into landfill dump
  • Rwanda- Enforces strict plastic ban , and on violation imposes huge penalties including imprisonment

Local

  • Kerala Green protocol- made mandatory in all government offices in Kerala, based on 3Rs  -Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
  • Kannur district in Kerala went on to become the first plastic free districts and in a time frame of just 5 months

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

  • Segregation of waste at the municipal level
  • Better waste management - Waste to energy plants using sophisticated technology - technology like polymer injection
  • Buy back mechanism
  • Behavioural change - Self regulation and self awareness, sustainable alternatives for day-to day use
  • Bioplastics as long-term solution