Life in plastic: on waste management framework


  • World environment day on June 5 2018 says about the major producer of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans.
  • Both the Solid Waste Management Rules and the Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016, which built on previous regulations, mostly remain on paper.

Theme for 2018: “Beat Plastic Pollution”.


  • The Centre’s somewhat liberal estimate shows over 60% of about 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated daily is collected.
  • That essentially means a staggering 10,000 tonnes of trash is being released into the environment, a lot of it going into the sea.
  • Also, not every piece of plastic collected by the system is scientifically processed.
  • The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna river system is on the UN map of 10 rivers worldwide that collectively carry the bulk of the plastic waste into the oceans.


  • They threaten marine life and the well-being of people, as microplastics are now found even in drinking water.

Way forward:

  • In their response to the crisis, communities and environmentally minded individuals are ahead of governments and municipal authorities.
  • They segregate waste, compost at home, conduct “plastic free” social events and help recover materials that would otherwise just be dumped in the suburbs and wetlands.
  • It is the Centre’s responsibility to ensure that the Environment (Protection) Act, the overarching law that enables anti-pollution rules to be issued, is implemented in letter and spirit.
  • Ideally, regulation should help stop the manufacture of single-use plastic articles such as carry bags and cutlery, and encourage the use of biodegradable materials.

There is a challenge:

  • The provisions of the Plastic Waste Management Rules require manufacturers of compostable bags to get a certificate from the Central Pollution Control Board, but this has not stopped counterfeit products from entering the market.
  • Local bodies mandated under rules to ensure segregation, collection and transfer of waste to registered recyclers have spectacularly failed to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • The State Level Monitoring Committees provided for under the rules have not been made accountable.
  • The waste management framework is dysfunctional, and on beating plastic pollution alone will not inspire confidence.
  • India and the world face a plastics crisis. Solving it will take more than slogans.


  • If the planned steps are taken without fail we can avoid plastics to be dumped in the oceans.
  • Its our responsibility to save our ocean and the species of marine.


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