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India is its own worst enemy in tackling polymer pollution

Published: 1st Dec, 2022


According to a new report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the Government has diluted the Plastic Waste Management Rules in 2016 about six times but is still not able to tackle its plastic menace.

Key highlights of the Report:

  • The report highlights that the amendments in the Plastic Management Rules have been aimed at benefiting major producers, importers, and brand owners.
  • The entire life cycle of plastic can be broken only when the approach will be from source to disposal.


About Plastic:

  • Plastic is a synthetic polymer made of gasoline with structures suitable for various uses, including packaging, construction and construction, household and sports equipment, automobiles, electronics, and agriculture. Plastic is cheap, lightweight, strong, and soft.
  • More than 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually, half of which are used to design consumer goods, such as shopping bags, cups, and straws.

Disposal:  Only 9% of recycled plastic waste and about 12% burned, while 79% accumulated in landfills.

Recent steps by India:

  • Currently, the Plastic Waste Management Regulations, of 2016, prohibit the manufacture, importation, storage, distribution, sale, and use of handling bags and plastic sheets of less than 50 microns in the country.
  • The Prime Minister of India was also awarded the “world champion” award by theUnited Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2018 for promising to eradicate all once-used plastic by 2022.
  • India has pledged to take steps to reduce land pollution caused by Single Use Plastics.
  • India generated 34 lakh tonnes of plastic waste in 2019-20, of which only 60% has been recycled
  • 6 of the top 100 global producers of polymers that produce a large quantity of plastic waste are based in India.
  • 22 states in India have announced a ban on single-use plastic but, it had little impact on outcomes.

What are the loopholes in Policy dealing with Plastic management?

  • In terms of policy- India's environmental policies vary, deliberately good but bad in terms of results
  • With regard to government spending in the absence of a strong will from national governments to replace municipal contracts.
  • Regarding recycling- due to the lack of partition, most plastic waste cannot be recycled
  • Cold regulation - This has led to a ban on the movement of plastic waste to other provinces with recycling.

Government Initiatives:

  • GloLitter Partnerships Project: Launched by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as well.
    • Purpose: To prevent and reduce marine plastic waste from shipping and fisheries.
    • It will also assist developing countries in reducing marine waste, including plastic waste, from the maritime and fisheries sector, and reducing the use of plastic in these industries.
    • Also, help identify potential recycling and recycling of plastics.
    • Thirty countries including India have joined this global marine pollution program.
  • World Environment Day, 2018 is held in India; world leaders promise "Beat Pollution" and end its use completely.
  • Specifically, in India: The Plastic Waste Management Regulations, 2016 states that every local organization must be responsible for establishing infrastructure for sorting, collecting, processing, and disposing of plastic waste.
  • Plastic Waste Management Regulations (Amendments):The 2018 Regulations introduce the concept of Extra Manufacturer Responsibility (EPR).
  • Prohibit Single Use Plastics with the aim of liberating India of once-used plastics by 2022.

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