Pigeons and Cattle Egret birds are seen at a garbage dump with a large amount of plastic refuse, in Delhi. (Source: PTI)

China Can Give India Lessons On Curbing Water Pollution, Says UN Environment Head Erik Solheim

China, the world’s biggest polluter, can give India a lesson on curbing water pollution, according to Erik Solheim, executive director at the United Nations Environment Programme.

“Five years ago, the country [China] had some of the worst polluted rivers in the world, but now they are clean,” Solheim told BloombergQuint in an interview. It has evolved techniques to manage waste in confined areas and has opened rivers, lakes and wetlands to prevent contamination, he said. “If China can do that, then India can do that in the Ganga and other rivers.”

According to Central Pollution Control Board, the number of polluted rivers in India has risen to 275 from 121 over the last five years. Maharashtra fares the worst in keeping its rivers clean, IndiaSpend had reported. The state recorded the highest number of river stretches where industrial effluents were being dumped between 2008 and 2012.

Also read: World’s Plastic Burden: Weight Of A Billion African Elephants 

But implementation of environment protection policies in India takes a backseat as heaps of waste are generated every day, Solheim said.

Indian cities generated over 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, a January 2015 assessment report of the Central Pollution Control Board said. Nearly 25 Indian states and Union Territories have some form of ban on polythene bags, according to an IndiaSpend research.

Globally, governments are making conscious efforts to curb plastic waste, he said. “The government of Chile has banned plastic bags in the country. Earlier this week, the European Union set out a very ambitious plastic treatment strategy.”

Solheim, however, lauded the Narendra Modi-led administration’s Swachh Bharat mission and its efforts to combine its development and environment protection goals.

Also read: World’s Plastic Burden: Weight Of A Billion African Elephants 

Watch the full interview here: