Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs has called upon the Industry and the society to self-regulate to bring about behavioural change for a greener and sustainable growth. He was delivering the inaugural address at a Conference on “Plastic Recycling & Waste Management -Opportunities and Challenges” here today. In this context, he pointed out that “India’s gigantic urban initiative is not a mindless thrust of infrastructure investment but combining the attainment of social indices and environmental objectives along the way”.Stating that India’s Urban rejuvenation must be greener and resilient, Shri Puri said all these are being achieved without compromising on environmental concerns. “We have adopted a conscious approach that places a premium on building green and resilient structures. Use of new and alternate construction technologies in the construction of houses, locally available eco- friendly materials suited to local climatic conditions are being encouraged, reducing not only the cost of construction but also the resultant carbon footprint”, he added.
Addressing the participants, the minister said that India’s capacity to treat its waste scientifically, will increase in future as waste management in India is still majorly restricted to traditional methods of waste collecting and disposing it in landfills with minimal segregation.“The launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014 has led to some degree of sensitisation and awareness campaigns on waste management, resulting in segregation and recycling being adopted across several cities and towns in India”, he said. Stating that the volume of plastic waste has also grown over the years, not just in India, but globally, Shri Puri said that India has a good record or recycling of plastic waste, bulk of which is carried out in the informal sector. “For example, we recycle over 80% of PET bottle waste into fibre, which is one of the highest rate of recycling in the world. For a sustainable growth, it is also necessary to reduce use of non-essential “single use” plastic products.
All solid wastes, including various plastic wastes, can be recycled or the inherent energy recovered. The Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 is a good frame-work to address the challenges posed by plastic waste” Shri Puri added.Elaborating on the challenges and opportunities in terms of collection, segregation and recycling of plastic waste in order to waste proof the future, the Minister said we must also look into the alternatives to plastic products available that can be scaled up commercially for both large scale and small scale applications. He said that even though plastic waste forms 4% -7% of MSW in India, it is the most visible part and poses a major challenge. “While civic bodies are entrusted with the primary responsibilities of handling waste, other stakeholders need to join-in in this endeavour” he suggested.
Shri Puri said that advanced economies in the world have managed plastic waste well through building robust infrastructure and public awareness for management of all solid waste. Highlighting that India’s development trajectory will be ‘green’, and in consonance with the ethos of the 2030 development agenda, the Minister pointed out that almost a year before the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formalized by the United Nations, India officially launched the world largest cleanliness drive -- Swachh Bharat Mission. Stressing on the role of newer technologies, the Minister said, “they have allowed us to do more with less, and increase the efficacy and efficiency in delivering urban services”. The day-long Conference will deliberate not only on innovations in plastic waste management and technology but also to look for alternative to the use of single-use plastic products.