Per Capita Plastic Waste Generation rate in India is appx. 10 Kg per capita per year, which is far below any developed Country like US, where, Per Capita Plastic Waste Generation rate is appx. 135 Kg per capita per year. But we cannot afford to increase our per capita plastic waste generation rate to even 1 kg per capita because our population size is 135 Million. Even consumption of 1 kg per capita will increase 135 Million Kg and India do not have capacity to handle this much waste. Therefore, there is dire need to reduce our consumption pattern, redesigning of our packaging system, and strengthen the waste collection system and we should develop a approach to maximum recovery from waste by any possible mean.
Thanks to our Prime Minister, who took pledge in UN assembly and Hosting a World Environment Day in 2018. After that, Plastic Waste Management has become the most talked subject among the industries, policy makers, environmentalist and other stakeholders. Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 as amended in 2018 also played an important role in accelerating the talk and action on plastic waste. Industries are getting non compliance notices from State and Centre Pollution Control Board and recently Few MNC got financial penalty from the NGT also. But issuing notices and penalty to industries will not solve the issue as we can not compensate the environment damage with revenue. We need to enforce Policy at ground by educating stakeholders. We need to develop a mechanism so that stakeholder can participate and contribute to make it happen. The policy should be doable and action plan for executing policy should be available in public domain. But this is very unfortunate part of our system that there is lack of coordination among the authorities, who are responsible to implement policy and who make the policy. There is no uniform interpretation of policy and Rules and each reader bring its own interpretation and that is the biggest challenge in enforcing the policy at ground.
Besides all issues and challenges, we also need to understand that today life is very difficult without plastic as we see plastic in every application. Therefore, we have to accept the fact that there will be no alternative to plastic and if there would be any alternative to plastic, it may be more harmful than plastic. It would be good if we start focusing on the supply chain of plastic waste and start delivering on the source segregation, maximum collection and recycling or co-processing of plastic waste. We should take a challenge to make a litter free country through mass awareness in which each citizen participate and each piece of plastic waste dumped in to dustbin only and no one should dare to dispose it in to river, ocean or anywhere else. If this happen, then plastic will not be consider as a problem because it will not be seen as litter waste. It will be collected efficiently by the waste workers and Municipality and brought back into the circular economy. then automatically, we will eliminate the plastic waste menace from our society and country. Recycling and Co-processing industries is having huge potential to consume thousands of tons of plastic everyday but they need quality plastic waste, which is possible only people do segregate at source and dispose waste into dustbin.
Task is difficult but is not impossible. We need to strengthen every organisation, whether its ULBs, Gram Panchyat, NGO, Waste Management Agency etc. whoever works in waste and understand waste need to empower. Each such organization need to strengthen their capacity, knowledge, skill, network and efficiency for handling thousand tons of waste generated by us every day. They need to collaborate with other stakeholders for support and each stakeholder need to work with ownership to fight against this stubborn matter, this might be time taking and hard to adopt but it will gradually become a routine if we volunteer.
Founder President, Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA)
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are sole of the author and CONSCIOUS CARMA does not necessarily subscribe to it. CONSCIOUS CARMA will not be responsible for any damage caused to any person or organisation directly or indirectly.