Plastic waste, especially carry bags is a major environment and public health problem in India, particularly in urban areas. India generates 15,342 tonnes of plastic waste every day and we don’t know what to do with it! In India, plastic bags of all sizes and thickness are found occupying the city landscape due to problems of overusing and littering. Furthermore, plastic bags tend to clog drains, gutters and rainwater vents, thereby creating a flood like scenario even for small rains. They also pose a danger to stray animals such as cattle and dogs, which can be seen consuming them on roadsides.
We throw it in the sea and kill our marine species and habitat. It has been reported that 0.6 million tonnes of plastic waste out of 5.6 million tonnes, ends up in seas annually. The seas near Mumbai, Kerala and Andaman & Nicobar Islands are amongst the most polluted in the world.
In India, dumping of plastic waste is a common practice. In landfills, plastic degrades into its smaller components and mixes into the soil and water table. This affects the soil quality and groundwater contamination and makes its way to the food chain. We burn it and release GHG emissions into the atmosphere.
By 2025, India’s waste management sector is expected to be worth US$13.62Billion with an annual growth rate of 7.17percent.
Recycled Plastics have a great potential and companies are trying to develop value added products from post-consumer plastic wastes. Companies are using plastic waste in construction, furniture, landscaping, soft toys, T-shirts, denims, pillows etc. Start-ups like Banyan Nation are piling money by grabing the opportunity. Many companies are exploring opportunities of manufacturing bio-based products. Companies, such as Ravi Industries Maharashtra, Truegreen Ahmedabad, Ecolife Chennai, and Biotec Bags Tamil Nadu are pioneers in the Indian bioplastics industry. Many start-up businesses are also venturing into Indian bioplastics market such as Envigreen which started its production in Bengaluru and is capable of producing 1,000 tonnes of bioplastics annually.
Still there are unfulfilled gaps in existing solutions. There is a paramount need of indigenous developed technology and innovative products. The major challenge is segregation and re-aggregation of plastic waste streams such as packaging waste, including laminated plastic. Till now, street-picker based recycling economy has ensured India’s continued efforts in battling plastic pollution. But now they need to included into formal sector from informal sector. The Central Government’s think tank Niti Aayog has included this innovation in Atal Innovation Mission. Best ideas will be awarded not only a reward of up to Rs 1Cr. but also mentorship and incubation facilities as per the requirements of the project.
So what can be done?
Turns out all of us can do something by innovating and developing processes and technology needed according to our situation and needs. Clearly, the economic & development goals of India needs a fresh approach to change the story of plastics.
Join BotsNBrains to learn how to innovate and start solving India’s problem now.