In a concerted effort to address the rising concerns of plastic pollution, Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0, led by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, organized the fourth edition of SwachhTalks. This national peer learning webinar, held on July 29, 2022, delved into the critical topic of 'Managing Plastic Waste,' aligning with the mission's overarching goal of establishing 'Garbage Free Cities.'
National Call to Action Against Plastic Pollution:
In his 'Mann Ki Baat' series, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi consistently emphasized the collective responsibility of citizens in combating plastic pollution. The first call to phase out single-use plastic came on August 15, 2019, and was reiterated during Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary celebrations. The Prime Minister envisioned a national movement against single-use plastics, intertwining it with the spirit of cleanliness and environmental consciousness.
Enforcement of Single-Use Plastics Ban:
With Indian cities and states enforcing the ban on single-use plastics from July 1, 2022, the recent SwachhTalks episode provided a platform for stakeholders nationwide to assess the progress made in managing plastic waste. The discussion focused on strategies adopted by cities, states, organizations, and Swachhata Champions to navigate the challenges posed by plastic consumption.
Insights from Swachh Talks Episode:
The webinar featured key speakers shedding light on various aspects of plastic waste management. Ms. Roopa Mishra, Joint Secretary and National Mission Director of Swachh Bharat Mission Urban, applauded India's emerging role as a global leader in sustainable sanitation and waste management. Dr. Satyendra Kumar, Director of the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, emphasized the importance of finding sustainable alternatives to plastic.
City Initiatives and Success Stories:
Ms. Anindita Mitra, Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, shared innovative initiatives to enforce the ban on single-use plastics in the Union Territory. These initiatives included promoting sustainable alternatives, preventing littering on roads and highways, and mobilizing youth through 'Swachhata Ki Pathshala.'
Corporate Initiatives Towards Sustainability:
Representatives from Zomato India and Amazon India, Ms. Anjalli Ravi Kumar and Ms. Shubhra Jain, respectively, discussed initiatives undertaken by their companies to become 'Plastic Neutral Businesses.' They emphasized the importance of waste segregation at the source and highlighted the shift towards eco-friendly packaging alternatives.
Startups and Innovations:
SwachhTalks also featured startups contributing to plastic waste management. Mr. Arpit Dhupar, CEO of Dharaksha Ecosolutions Pvt. Ltd., showcased a biodegradable packaging product made from stubble waste and mycelium, addressing air and plastic pollution. Mr. Akash Shetti from Plastics for Change shared insights about their efforts to enable the informal sector involved in plastic waste collection and recycling.
As India advances in its commitment to sustainable sanitation, the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0's SwachhTalks episode underscored the nation's progress in managing plastic waste. The convergence of government initiatives, corporate responsibility, and innovative startups signals a collective effort towards achieving 'Garbage Free Cities' and making a substantial impact in the global fight against plastic pollution.