The Dehradun Cantt Board of Uttarakhand has established the country's first three polythene garbage banks to dispose of polythene waste. This is opened to end the plastic pollution.
One of these garbage banks, located at Garhi, was inaugurated by the state's Urban Development Minister, Premchand Aggarwal.
In Garhi, Dehradun, two polythene waste banks have recently been opened with a third opening in Premnagar. These banks are the first of their kind in the country and have been established to both clean up litter from homes and roads, and provide a new source of income.
- The banks will collect polythene waste which will then be used to create decorative items such as tiles, boards, and pots. Various types of polythene waste, including bags, chip wrappers, packing bags, plastic cutters, and bread wrappers, will be purchased at a rate of three rupees per kilogram.
- The polythene waste banks will begin operating this week at Bindal Chowki, Dairy Farm in Garhi, and Special Wing in Premnagar. The banks aim to purchase a minimum of 70 tonnes and a maximum of 100 tonnes of polythene waste monthly.
- Abhinav Singh, CEO of The Cantt Board, stated that polythene waste such as bags, chip wrappers, packing bags, and plastic cutters are currently considered low-value plastic with no buyers or markets. Waste pickers typically do not collect these items, which creates a problem. The polythene waste banks aim to solve this issue by providing a place to bring these items for purchase.
- The Cantonment Council organized a competition among the RWAs (Resident Welfare Association) of the military area to collect polythene and e-waste. The winners of the competition were honored by the Urban Development Minister on behalf of the Cantonment Board.
Plastic Pollution in India
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reports, plastic makes up 8% of the total solid waste. Delhi produces the most plastic waste, followed by Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
Only 60% of the total plastic waste is recycled. Households generate the most plastic waste, with a large amount coming from water and soft drink bottles. In India, about 43% of manufactured plastics are used for packaging, most of which are only used once.
Note: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is a statutory organization established in September 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. The CPCB was also given responsibilities and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
Single Use Plastics
According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), single-use plastic products refer to various items generally used only once before being disposed of or recycled. Examples of single-use plastic items include food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, and shopping bags.
In 2016, the Plastic Waste Management Rules mandated that producers and brand owners collaborate with local bodies to develop an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) collect-back system.
According to CPCB, the collection efficiency was 80.28% in 2014, with only 28.4% treated and the remaining disposed of in landfills or open dumps.
Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) could learn from cities like Bangalore, where Dry Waste Collection Centres with self-sustaining business models have been established.
- It is important to establish a monetized collection model for plastic waste that provides economic returns for those involved. Virgin plastics, such as those used in food packaging, should be collected separately due to their higher value.
Did you know that some types of plastic contain fibres that shorten with each recycling process? This means that a single plastic item can be recycled around 7-9 times before it can no longer be reused. However, recycling is still a great way to reduce plastic waste. In fact, for every ton of plastic waste recycled, we save around 3.8 barrels of petroleum.
- Some innovative technologies in India can convert 1 kg of plastic waste into 750 ml of automotive-grade gasoline.
- Additionally, shredded plastic waste can be used in road construction. For example, Jambulingam Street in Chennai was one of India's first plastic roads built in 2002. In 2015-16, the National Rural Road Development Agency laid approximately 7,500 km of roads using plastic waste.
- Moreover, co-processing plastic waste in cement kilns is another environmentally viable option for processing non-recyclable and combustible plastic waste.
- India has recently introduced new rules, effective from August 12, 2021, to phase out single-use plastic items with low utility and high littering potential by July 1, 2022. This includes eliminating lightweight plastic bags, plastic sticks for buds and balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene, plastic plates, glasses, cutlery, and plastic stirrers. Taking this step is crucial in the effort to decrease plastic waste and encourage sustainable behaviors.