25,000 Tonne Of Plastic Waste Generated In India Daily, And 40% Remains Uncollected
A worker operates a crane claw as it unloads plastic waste onto a stockpile at a recycling center. (Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg)  

25,000 Tonne Of Plastic Waste Generated In India Daily, And 40% Remains Uncollected

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India generates more than 25,000 tonne of plastic waste everyday, 40 percent of which remains uncollected and littered in the environment, the Centre informed the Lok Sabha on Friday.

In a written response to a question in the Lower House, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the demand of plastic has increased significantly due its increased use in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, which has indirectly resulted into the challenge of plastic waste management.

"With continued economic development, the demand for consumer goods is increasing. Among the various factors driving this growth, one of the most significant factor is increasing use of plastics by the fast-moving consumer goods sector,” Javadekar said.

"Due to its durability, strength, inert behaviour and low cost, plastic emerged as one of the most reliable packaging material for the industries. As an outcome, the increase in demand for plastic has indirectly resulted into the challenge of plastic waste management," he added.

Replying to another question on developing green alternatives to plastic, the minister said due to its cheap cost, finding an alternative was a "challenging task".

"Due to various positive factors including cheap cost associated with plastic packaging, finding an ecologically sustainable and green alternative to plastic is a challenging task.”

"However, with an objective to ensure the sound management of plastic waste, ministry has already started taking initiatives, for effective management of plastic waste in the country," he said.

Referring to a study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board in 60 major cities of India, the minister said that it has been estimated that around 4,059 tonne per day of plastic waste is generated from these cities.

"Extrapolating this plastic waste generation data from 60 major cities to the entire country, it is estimated that around 25,940 tonne/day of plastic waste is generated in India. There are 4,773 registered plastic manufacturing/Multi-Layer Plastic manufacturing/recycling units in the country.”

"Approximately 15,384 tonne/day, which is 60 percent of the total plastic waste, is collected and recycled. This recycled plastic is used is manufacturing of several products. The remaining 10,556 tonne/day of the plastic waste, which is estimated to be approximately 40 percent of plastic waste generation, remains uncollected and littered in the environment," Javadekar said.

The minister informed that an expert group has been constituted by Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology with respect to research and development for compostable or biodegradable technology on plastic.

The government aims to rid the country of single use plastic by 2022 as part of the Clean India (Swachh Bharat) part two campaign.

The government has notified Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, as per which the generators of waste have been mandated to take steps to minimise generation of plastic waste, not to litter plastic waste, ensure segregated storage of waste at source and handover segregated waste to local bodies or agencies authorised by the local bodies.

The Rules prohibit the use of plastic bags with thickness less than 50 microns.

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