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Investment to Reduce Plastic Waste in India

  • 01 Aug 2020
  • 7 min read

Why in News

A Singapore-based-NGO namely ‘Alliance to End Plastic Waste’ plans to invest between USD 70 million to 100 million in India over the next five years to reduce plastic waste.

  • Overall, the Alliance has a USD 500 million budget for environmental projects including the USD 100 million for India. The rest is for South East Asia and China.

Alliance to End Plastic Waste

  • Alliance to End Plastic Waste was founded in 2019 as a nonprofit organisation to help solve this serious and complex issue – 8 million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean every year.
  • Nearly fifty companies across the plastics value chain have joined the Alliance and together they have committed to invest USD 1.5 billion towards solutions that will prevent the leakage as well as recover and create value from plastic waste.

Key Points

  • World Nature Conservation Day:
    • The investment to end plastic waste in India was announced on the World Nature Conservation Day (28th July).
    • It is celebrated every year to create and increase awareness about the importance of natural resources.
    • The day also encourages people to save and protect Earth’s natural resources that are fast-depleting owing to over-exploitation and even misuse.
  • Ongoing Initiatives in India:
    • Currently, ‘Alliance to End Plastic Waste’ is working on the Project Aviral which aims to reduce plastic waste in the Ganga river.
      • Aviral seeks to pilot an approach to address waste management challenges. In particular, it will focus on strengthening an integrated plastic waste management system.
  • Worldwide Initiatives:
    • UN-Habitat Waste Wise Cities (WWC):
      • Alliance to End Plastic Waste is also collaborating with the UN-Habitat to implement solutions toward a circular economy, creating business and livelihood opportunities while enhancing resource recovery.
      • It intends to use the UN-Habitat Waste Wise Cities (WWC) Tool to map waste flows and assess potential plastic leakage from waste management systems.
      • The collaboration supports the WWC Challenge to clean up and establish sustainable waste management in 20 cities around the world by 2022.
      • It is also expected to identify short- and long-term pathways to increase the amount of plastic waste collected, recycled and recovered.
    • Zero Plastic Waste Cities Initiative:
      • It is also implementing the Zero Plastic Waste Cities initiative in India and Vietnam which aims to tackle the plastic issue by improving and supplementing municipal waste management, repurposing collected waste and preventing it from flowing into the ocean.
      • It will also develop sustainable social businesses that improve the livelihoods of many while preventing plastic waste from escaping into the environment.
      • The two initial cities involved in this project are Puducherry in India and Tan An in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.

Plastic Waste

  • Global Scenario:
    • Over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since 1950, and about 60% of that has ended up in landfills or in the natural environment.
    • Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled and about 12% has been incinerated, while the remaining 79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment.
    • Plastic waste, whether in a river, an ocean, or on land can persist in the environment for centuries, hence by 2050, the amount of plastic in seas and oceans across the world will weigh more than the fish.
  • Indian Scenario:
    • India currently generates around 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day and over 10,000 tonnes of which is not collected.
    • India’s per capita plastic consumption of less than 11 kg, is nearly a tenth of the United States of America (109 kg).
    • For India, bringing plastic waste back into the supply chain could bring annual benefits of Rs.40 lakh crore in 2050.
  • Global as well as Indian Government’s Interventions:
    • The Group of 20 (G20) environment ministers, agreed to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale.
    • Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 state that every local body has to be responsible for setting up infrastructure for segregation, collection, processing, and disposal of plastic waste.
    • Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018 introduced the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
      • EPR is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant financial and physical responsibility (with respect to segregation and collection of waste at the source) for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
    • A new national framework on plastic waste management is in the works, which will introduce third-party audits as part of the monitoring mechanism.

Way Forward

  • Government has to look into it with a very holistic perspective while forming policies to take all aspects into consideration and ensure strict implementation of regulations.
  • Economically affordable and ecologically viable alternatives which will not burden the resources are needed and their prices will also come down with time and increase in demand.
  • Citizens have to bring behavioural change and contribute by not littering and helping in waste segregation and waste management. Everybody, by doing their bit, can ensure elimination of single use plastic.


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