The 2018 World Environment Day was momentous for India as the country was the global host and joined the league of the nations which hosted this prestigious event before.
With “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme for this day, India went big with an announcement to wipe out all the single-use plastics from the country by 2022. This announcement gave an extension to the activities carried on by millions of Indians like policymakers, celebrities, business magnates and small entrepreneurs, innovators, environmentalist, and activists against plastic pollution around the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded World Environment Day as an outset of a global movement to overthrow single-use plastics which will contribute to the country’s rapid economic development. This exceptional and ambitious action against the disposable plastic will drastically curb the flow of plastics from 130 crore people and businesses in the fastest growing economy in the world.
Pan-India Initiatives on plastic pollution
Several pan-India initiatives will be launched to fight plastic pollution like clean-up drives of public spaces, national reserves, forests, and beaches. These initiatives also include making 100 monuments across the country into plastic and litter-free zones. Even the Tourism Ministry will contribute their lot to the cause by vowing to avoid plastic straws at public places.
Nevertheless, many developmental measures have already been initiated by various states across the country to lower their plastic consumption and handle the existing waste across their jurisdiction. These actions serve as perfect examples and can be adopted by other states as well.
Below are some initiatives adopted by the municipalities, the state administration and the common public to tackle the plastic crises at their own level across the country.
1. Use of recyclables in government offices in Kerala
Many government offices in Kerala are contributing in their own way towards the Beat Plastic Pollution initiative of the government to make India plastic free. The employees in these offices have shifted from using plastic-made items like plastic water bottles and disposable teacups to steel cutlery, and from pens made of plastic to pens made of steel.
This action of the government offices was mooted by the Suchitwa Mission and Haritha Keralam Mission, which aimed at making the government departments an example of a clean environment. This step can also be easily implied in corporate and private organizations while paving the way for an environment-friendly work culture.
2. Extracting of plastic waste from water bodies in Kerala
It’s really sad that the marine creatures are paying the price of our callousness and impotence to handle the plastic waste. It becomes very depressing when multiple reports highlighting the dead bodies of the marine animals found on the seashores, with plastic waste inside their tummies.
To handle this grave situation, Kerala’s Suchitwa Mission has launched an excellent project in which 28 fishermen have been employed from the Neendakara harbor in not just finding the fishes but also extracting the plastic from the water bodies that either gets stuck in the fishing nets or float on the sea. The Mission has managed to retrieve 25 tonnes of plastic waste in last 10 months of the project launch.
3. Tackling plastic use in Sikkim
Sikkim has always been at the forefront when it comes to tackling the plastic pollution. Its success in restricting usage and sale of plastic bags is an example for the other states to learn from. This success is not achieved by Sikkim by just imposing random fines on the plastic use, but by making people aware of the dangers caused by plastics. In 1998, it became the first Indian state to ban disposable plastic bags and single-use plastic bottles.
The Sikkim government took two bigger decisions in 2016. Firstly, it targeted the government offices for imposing a ban on the use of packaged drinking water on its premises to reduce an unnecessary burden on the dump yards. Secondly, it completely banned the consumption of Styrofoam and thermocol disposable plates and cutlery in the entire state in order to reduce harmful effects of the plastic pollution and tackle its ever-increasing garbage problem.
Ever since 2005, the state has been engaged in conducting significant campaigns to spread awareness among people about the harms imposed by plastic on the environment. Similar success stories have emerged out of Nainital and Jaipur, where shopkeepers have begun to use chargeable cloth bags instead of plastic ones.
4. Utilising plastic for road surfacing
Due to the plausible efforts of Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan of the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai, the road surfacing using plastics is now a reality. The plastic which is banned and considered a waste can now be utilized in flagging off development projects across the country. Many states in India are planning to implement this pioneering technique to manage their plastic waste. The states of Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have already started to work on this unique technique.
5. Recycling plastic for better purposes
It is an impossible task to dispose of such huge amounts of plastic waste generated in India at one go. The only option available is to use this plastic waste in an eco-friendly manner that the burden on the country’s dumping grounds gets reduced. Many organizations in India have been recycling plastic in an efficient manner to avoid any harmful effects caused by it. The plastic is being utilized and recycled in construction materials, making of threads and fabrics for the textile industry, and many other better purposes. The government’s recent proposal to introduce plastic currency notes is a major step in reusing plastic waste.
6. Adoption of ‘‘co-processing of waste” technique in Gujarat to deal with plastic pollution
The Gujarat state government, in association with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, had introduced the concept of ‘‘co-processing of waste” to the industries producing huge amounts of plastic wastes and working closely with them on this concept. Co-processing is the process of utilizing waste materials in the industrial processes or substituting them for primary fuel or raw material. The paper mills in Vapi collected their plastic byproducts and then used them to fire cement plants. This co-processing of hazardous waste in the cement production is an eco-friendly and sound method for its disposal.
The GPCB has arranged a number of meetings with Gujarat Paper Mill Association and the owners of the cement industries to make ‘‘co-processing of waste” a reality. Thereafter, a trial run for use of plastic waste in the kiln was organized at the cement mills. After the success of the trial run, many companies in the cement sector have incorporated large quantities of plastic waste in their feeding system.
7. The state of Andhra Pradesh
has started a scale-out program to convert 6 million farms from conventional synthetic chemical agriculture to Zero-Budget Natural Farming.
8. Introduction of “Beat Plastic Pollution” drive by Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) in East Delhi schools
The SEEDS implemented a drive in view of beating plastic pollution in six Schools in East Delhi to encourage safe environmentl practices among students, children , teachers, parents, and communities in Delhi.
9. Fishermen of Kerala turning plastics from ocean into roads
The fishermen in Kerala are pulling out plastics dumped in the oceans with the help of their nets. They have set up first-ever recycling center in Kadalamma with the help of several government agencies to clean, sort, and process all the sea-tossed plastic bags, bottles, straws, etc. that they fish out. The plastic which is damaged, eroded, and cannot be recycled is shredded into a confetti and then sold to the local constructors to be used in paving of the roads.
How much we shut our eyes to the dangers caused by plastic, plastic pollution is indeed a stark reality that requires prompt cooperative action before it gets too late to save our planet. The world didn’t become cluttered with plastic pollution overnight, so it’ll take a bit more time and effort to get rid of it completely. The actions taken to reduce the impact of the plastic pollution on the environment doesn’t need to be grand or sweeping, just an honest effort every day will definitely make a great contribution to the subject.
हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें
Plastic Pollution: A Threat to Ecosystem
Air pollution in India
River Pollution in India
Marine Pollution: Causes, Types, Effects & Prevention
Pollution Control in India
Most Polluted Cities in India
Pollution in Delhi after Diwali Celebration
Delhi’s Odd-Even Scheme Observations
Delhi’s odd-even car rule to reduce pollution
How can Delhi bring down its pollution levels?
Air Pollution in Delhi is Caused by Vehicles
Pollution in Delhi: Industrial Units Choking Residential Areas
Vehicular Pollution in Delhi and Its Impact on Lotus Temple