Beating Plastics Pollution- A Serious Need Of The Hour

Subhranshu Sekhar Samal, ARCI, GURUGRAM (An autonomous R & D Centre under DST), Subhranshu Sekhar Samal ARCI, Gurugram 2.Binod Chandra Jena (Retired school teacher, Paralakhemundi, Odisha)

2018-07-30 08:57:25



World Environment Day is one of the most valuable occasion for encouraging the awareness and action for the protection of our environment worldwide. Since 1974, it is celebrated in 100 countries as World Environment Day. It is recognized as people’s day to do something productive for protecting the environment through awareness, plantation, road-show or street play etc.

Every World Environment Day has a different global host country, where the official celebrations and activities takes place. The focus on the host country helps highlight the environmental challenges it faces and supports the effort to address them. For the year-2018, India was selected as host country.

Truth about plastic consumptions

  • Every year 13 million tons plastics go to our ocean
  • 50% of our marine litters are disposable plastics
  • 95% of disposable plastics are wasted
  • Recycling of plastics takes 88% of less energy than making new plastics
  • We can save 1000-2000 gallons of gasoline by recycling one ton of plastics

What we can do to save plastics?

  • Refuse disposable plastics:
  • Keep your own re-usable (ceramic) cup and plates in office or workplace
  • Carry re-usable bags to shops, markets and malls
  • Re-use your hard-bound or coated thick covers to make envelopes and containersplastic packs to make decorative items
  • Use re-usable lunch bag
  • Find ways to adopt reusable products
  • Pressurize municipality to fix recycling hubs through NGOs and urban local bodies/ welfare associations

Re-think/Re-design plastics

  • Redesign and innovate plastics products
  • Improve collection, sorting and reprocessing
  • Scale-up adaption of reusable plastics
  • Establish global plastic protocols
  • Create viable market for recycled plastics
  • Regulatory framework for recycled plastics

Govt should take following initiatives to beat plastics

  • Providing incentives for community and private sector initiatives to follow non-plastic alternatives.
  • Awareness and education at the community, national and regional levels
  • Resource mobilization for all plastic freeinterventions through partnerships with NGOs and public sectors through PPP mode.
  • Audio visual shows in school and colleges about the success stories on combating plastic uses.
  • Development of national and regional capacities for the management of solid waste, marine litter and enforcement of regulations.
  • Follow 5 R’s (“Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Refuse- Respond”) instead of 3 R’s (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle)

Bilateral co-operation in “Make-in -India” initiative for green initiatives

  1. Indo-Swedish co-operation forsustainable public transport to support India’s smart city mission.
  2. Sweden generated its 75% of electricity from renewable sources and planned to invest 3.5 million USD for renewable and green technologies in India as on 2016.
  3. Sweden is a front runner for self-sustaining homes through solar lighting system, waste management,green roofs and solar PV installations. So, India has decided to partner with Sweden to adopt this self -sustaining housing concept.
  4. India planned to follow the way of Sweden (ranked-1 in EU) to adopt sustainable life style through recycling for their domestic wastes into recycled bottles.
  5. India has planned to follow fossil free nation and adopt organic agriculture/ vegetation practices to be a shining example of bio-economy.

Shining examples of committed Indians (green warriors) to save the environment and the mother earth:

  1. Green stoves for cleaner air: Greenway Grameen Infra, a social enterprise whichwas founded by Ankit Mathur and Neha Juneja with ShoebKazi in 2011that aims tosolve environmental pollution. It builds and sells modern stoves that can replace traditional chulhas and deliver over 65% savings in fuels and up to 70% smoke reduction. Designed with patented air regulation technology, Greenway Stoves minimize the impact of toxic fumes indoors and benefit personal health as well as the environment. Already in use by over 550,000 Indians, the stoves potentially offer several households an alternative and cleaner way to lives.
  2. Mumbai Roti bank:The initiative was started by Mumbai’s iconic dabbawallas, Roti Bank was asimple solution to the twin problems of hunger and waste. Mumbai Roti Bank initiative was supported by Mumbai police as well as a business man which uses GPS-enabled vans to collect leftover food from parties, weddings, restaurants, events, banquets, and households across the city daily to be distributed in areas that house the needy. Anyone can contribute excess food by calling a 24-hour helpline and leaving the details of the pick-up. In a country where an estimated nearly 20 crores go hungry daily, such initiatives are an essential way to provide some relief to our least underprivileged members and reduces food waste.
  3. Banyan Nation (A kind of plastic): Every year a theme is chosen for environment day and for 2018, it’s beating plastic pollution. More specifically, the irreversible pollution caused to our oceans, wildlife, and environment due to this non-degradable and hazardous material which affected the planet. Hyderbad-based start-up “Banyan Nation” found a unique and timely solution to our over-dependence on plastic. Through their proprietary cleaning technology, Banyan Nation converts post-consumer and industrial plastic waste into high-quality recycled granules, which can then be reused by manufacturers and industries for further processing. Not only does this effectively cut down more plastic from being introduced to the environment, but also helps in managing non-biodegradable urban waste and cutting down inefficiencies in the supply chain. It was founded by Mani Vajipey and Raj Madangopal in 2013, the company has successfully partnered with major brands like L’Oreal and Tata Motors, both of which now use better plastic in their product packaging and manufacturing.
  4. Kaalink device: A concept devised by Mr. Anirudh Sharma to capture un-burn carbon from exhaust from vehicle and making ink for printing by Gravicky lab, a bangalore-based start-up to reduce air pollution caused due to vehicles. AIR-INKTM is an ink brand which produces ink and ink-based art products by condensing soot-based gaseous effluents generated by motor vehicles due to incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. It was founded by Graviky Labs, a spin-off group of MIT Media Lab, which produces its materials through a step-by-step process which primarily involves capturing of emissions, separation of carbon from the soot, and then mixing of this carbon with different types of oils and solutions to produce eco-friendly ink. It uses a patented device called 'Kaalink' to carry out the filtration of soot, which contains carbon and other polluting agents like heavy metals and carcinogens.
  5. Water as a fuel: Innovator Shri. Purshottam Pipaliya, a mechanical engineer by professiondesigned a car which runs by water in Surat, India. In this car we use water as a source and the kit splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is used as a fuel to the car.He Convertedtwo strokes engines to four strokes. The is expected to run 75 km per litre through this technology. Shri Purusottam filed it for patent and hope it will solve our fuel problem in near future if supported by govt.
  6. Maharashtra’s call to ban plastic: India’s second most-populous state has set to implement a ban on most types of non-reusable plastics. Maharashtrawill roll out a ban that includes single-use plastic bags, flex boards, banners, and disposable containers and utensils. Certain exemptions have been allowed for packaging for food and other goods. The state government is organizing an awareness drive to make sure people are prepared once the new laws are enforced to increase the effectiveness of the initiative. The plastic clogging was the prime reason for the devastating flood in Mumbai in the year 2005 which followed a ban on single-use plastic bags under 50 microns. Previous efforts to ban plastic bags had little impact because of limited enforcement and a lack of awareness about why the ban was important.
  7. Kerala’s marriage consciousness model:A conscious citizens of the Kolad Gram Panchayat of Kerala’s Kannur district Kerala made up their mind to stop plastics plates, bowls and related plastic materials in marriage. The use of plastic containers in marriage will lead to non-issuance of marriage certificate by the public authority. This noble mission to make weddings completely ‘green’. This initiative is being called ‘Maalin yamillatha Mangalyam’ which translates to ‘no waste in weddings’. The objective does sound difficult, but the initiative has become widely-accepted and hugely popular in the villages of Kerala. It has been presently implemented only in weddings but will soon be extended to all ceremonies with over 100 guests.
  8. Green Hero of Assam:Assam’s Jadav Payeng, the man made a forest of 550 hectares in Johrat. It all started way back in 1979 when floods washed a large number of snakes ashore on the sandbar. One day, after the waters had receded, Payeng, only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead reptiles. That was the turning point of his life. The place lies in Jorhat, some 350 km from Guwahati by roadin Brahmaputra region.
  9. Tree (Gachha in Odiya) Teacher of Odisha: Antaryami Sahu of Kantilo Village of Nayagarh district created awareness with his slogan “Plant a tree, plant a new life; take care of a tree and it will take care of you,” isn’t just a saying. He has been following the same principle for years now and he was inspired by his teacher in childhood. This 75-year-old young man is on a mission to plant trees every morning, armed with a bagful of seeds and a spade in his old cycle. He sows seeds in road sides, vacant patches and un-used lands wherever he gets a chance.He has planted more than20,000 trees so far and has also inspired many to follow this green practice. People call him Gacha (tree) Sir which is a best title for him. In fact, he has planted many trees like sal, mango, banyan, ashwatha, bel and saguan to start forests. He even worked towards generating awareness about the harmful effects of poduchasa (slash-and-burn form of cultivation) in Kamalpur, Jayapur and Manipur of Boudh district.
  1.  A young woman’s movement for no plastics: Ms. Rajeshwari Singh aged about 32from Vadodara was walkathon to Delhi to create awareness about the plastic pollution. She has chosen this difficult way to go to capital by foot travelling through 22 major cities and coveredaround 1100 kmstocreate awareness about pollution caused by plastic.  

Our Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi, appealed the 1.3 million Indians to eliminate all single-use plastic in daily life and make the country clean and green by 2022.Let’s conclude with this slogan: “Thinkgreen &make green”, “Clean &green your future”