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Business News/ News / India generates 3.6 lakh million tonnes plastic waste, 50% of it is recycled
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India generates 3.6 lakh million tonnes plastic waste, 50% of it is recycled

The minister also said that the number of registered plastic waste processors under Plastic Waste Management Rules is 1,419.
  • All developed and developing countries are individually taking actions to manage plastic waste, but the onus is mainly on developing countries.
  • Single-use plastic items whose manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, and sale will be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022. (Bloomberg)Premium
    Single-use plastic items whose manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, and sale will be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022. (Bloomberg)

    Around 34.7 lakh tonnes per annum (TPA) of plastic wastes was generated by India during 2019-20, Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey told the Lok Sabha.

    He also added that 15.8 lakh TPA of the plastic waste was recycled and 1.67 lakh TPA was co-processed. Which makes it 50% of the total plastic waste produced recycled.

    The minister also said that the number of registered plastic waste processors under Plastic Waste Management Rules is 1,419.

    The minister was referring to the annual report by the central pollution control board for 2019-20.

    Referring to another study by National Center for Coastal Research, he said that the plastic litter collected from beaches varies from 40 percent to 96 percent.

    "Ministry under its central sector scheme “Creation of Management Structures for Hazardous Substances" provides financial assistance for innovative technologies for environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes, Choubey said in its press release.

    Recently, India banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all across the country from July 1, 2022.

    The list of banned items includes - earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers. 

    The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Report (2019-20) had stated that 3.5 million metric tonnes of plastic waste are generated in India annually.

    Speaking about a 2021 United Nations paper and several media reports, 77 countries in the world had passed full or partial ban on plastic bags.

    As per the Blue and Green magazine, St Kitts and Nevis, a small two-island nation, which is a Caribbean destination has been addressing the problem of single-use plastic to preserve its natural beauty and tourist appeal. The country started “Plastics Be Gone" initiative which aims to minimise consumption of plastic by 30 percent over five years. Also a “Plastic Free July" scheme encouraged residents to step away from plastic waste completely.

    In 2017, the east-African nation, Kenya, banned single-use carrier bags and enforced strict fines of up to $40,000 for any offenders. In 2020, Bangladesh addressed those in hospitality industry to halt provision of toiletries and other plastic-packaged goods. As per the report, Bangladesh is world's first countries to ban plastic carrying bags in 2002.

    On 20 June, the Canadian government published final regulations to prohibit "harmful" single-use plastics, with a ban on manufacturing and importing most of these items to come into effect in December. The ban would be on single-use plastics including checkout bags, cutlery, food-service ware made from or containing plastic that is hard to recycle, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws, the Canadian government had said in a statement.

    In early 2020, China had announced ban of non-degradable bags in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all cities and towns by 2022. The 

    Recently on 8 June, 2022, US Interior Department said it would phase out single-use plastic products on public lands by 2032, including in national parks, in a move aimed at tackling a major source of US plastic waste as recycling efforts falter. The ocean ends up taking in a vast amount of plastic pollution taking in more than 14 million tons of plastic per year. Plastic makes up 80 percent of all marine debris found from surface, the Interior Department said. The department produced nearly 80,000 tons of municipal solid waste in fiscal year 2020.

    Meanwhile, all developed and developing countries are individually taking actions to manage plastic waste, but the onus is mainly on developing countries.

    Plastic was first invented in 1907, and given that it was cheaper and more convenient than other materials, it soon found use in varied ways in our daily lives.

    The adverse impacts of littered single-use plastic items plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including in the marine environment are globally recognized.

    From 1950 to 2015, around 8.3 billion metric tonnes (BMTs) of plastic had been produced globally, and of this, 80 per cent - 6.3 BMTs - was accounted as plastic waste.

    Plastic pollution soared from two million tonnes in 1950, to 348 million tonnes in 2017, becoming a global industry valued at $522.6 billion, said United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is expected to double in capacity, by 2040.

    In India, the Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016 and 2018 and the recently announced amendment of 2021 focus on single-use plastics. The rules detail the various categories of plastics and recommend recycling methods based on the type of plastic polymer used.

    Various manufacturing industries across the globe produce 400 million tonnes of plastic waste per year, with the packaging industry being the largest contributor.

    On 25 July, Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh had said that more than 200 tonnes of garbage, mainly single-use plastic, have been removed from the sea coasts during the first 20 days of the ongoing Coastal Clean-Up campaign.

    Singh reviewed the progress of the 75-day campaign that was launched on July 5 and aimed at removing 1,500 tonnes of garbage from the 7,500-km long coastline of the country by September 17, which is observed as International Coastal Clean-up Day.

    According to the United Nations, each year, about 11 million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in bodies of water. Over the next two decades, that number is expected to triple, it said. Facing a crisis, the 175 member countries of the UN Environment Assembly in March agreed to develop a treaty for curbing plastic use by the end of 2024.

    Companies, not individuals, are the biggest plastic offenders, a Bloomberg report has said. Specifically, 20 companies, which produce more than half of all single-use plastics, according to a 2021 analysis by the Australian nonprofit Minderoo Foundation. Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. is the world’s top plastic polluter, it said.

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    Published: 09 Aug 2022, 03:17 PM IST
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