#Pune365Agenda:5 – Staying committed to highlighting burning issues of our city and helping tackle them effectively, this edition focusses on the plastic menace that has taken over our lives, one way or the other.
Plastics have reached every nook and corner of the city, causing a major threat to the ecosystem at large. While focus is on curtailing the use of plastic bags and shifting to alternatives, we forget that apart from the bags, we use a lot of other plastic made products that are equally threatening to the environment.
With this context, we spoke to citizens to gauge their pulse, when it comes to plastic waste management in the city.
Collect back system under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
The producers, importers and brand owners who introduce the plastic carry bags, multi-layered plastic sachet, or pouches, or packaging in the market within a period of six months from the date of publication of these rules, need to establish a system for collecting back the plastic waste generated due to their products.
“Plastic is used extensively in almost everything, choking the animals, drains and harming our ecosystem. Yet, we cannot deny that it is both versatile and convenient,” quotes Sheila Christian, activist and member, National Society for Clean Cities, stressing on the increasing plastic waste in the city.
“Now, with the advent of online shopping we end up bringing in a huge amount of plastic with all the packing material that is used, however small the item.
“Collection of these plastics should be done responsibly rather than strewing it all over the place. Organisations like Rudra are doing a commendable job but again, segregation and collection of plastics from the city a huge concern. We have been reiterating the need for the collection of plastic to the authorities, but everything seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Many people store their wet waste in plastics bags and then dispose it. That is the worst thing they can do. Once the plastic is damaged, it is difficult to recycle them,” she adds.
The first thing we should do it is to segregate and locate organisations that recycle effectively. This currently happens in only a few pockets of the city but the collection must be carried out at all areas by concerned groups.
The regular collectors do not pick packets with silver lining or certain kind of plastics, but those are equally harmful to the environment
We should try to shift to alternative materials for packaging. We can use glass bottles, Thermocol plates, carry our own cloth bags and so on. I think, waste reduction, segregation and responsible disposal is the key.
Prerna Choudhary, A HR professional and home maker says that plastic is omnipresent. You name it, and we have it.
Responsibility of waste generator
All institutional generators of plastic waste, shall segregate and store the waste generated by them in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, and handover segregated wastes to authorized waste processing or disposal facilities or deposition centers, either on its own or through the authorized waste collection agency.
“It starts right from your tooth brush, to straws, to milk packets, plastic containers, plates, cups, combs, wrappers etc and the needs never end. It has become integral to our life. While people are conscious about not using plastic bags, they end up using other other plastic products that are equally harmful.
“We forget that it is not just bags, but many more things are affecting the environment.The focus should be in reducing and recycling all kinds of plastics, not just plastic bags,” she affirms.
Given this concern of increasing plastic waste in the city, Medha Tadpatrikar, founder of Rudra Environmental Solutions came up with a mechanism that converts plastic waste into useful poly-fuel.
Rudra Environmental Solutions: Most of the places we visit twice a month. We hand then recycled bags in which they can store the plastics (any kind), register with us and on a particular day we will go to pick their segregated plastic waste. We also have a collection centre. If the society needs how to segregate, we will go there and explain the process of segregation.
We convert plastic waste into usable fuel by the process of Pyrolysis. We keep the plastic in a rector at 170 degree that releases an LPG like gas, which is a mixture of methane propane and butane.
After emitting around one kg of gas, the machine switches to a heating source and runs fully on our fuel and gas. From 100 kg of plastic we can get around 60-70 litres of fuel. This fuel can be used in a generator boiler and also as replacement of kerosene.
“When we started there was no awareness. Our motive was creating awareness and we still find that it is a task. Nobody wants to do anything about their garbage. Everyone thinks that it is somebody else’s problem.
“Plastic bags are just one pollutant. Be it biscuits, grocery, vegetables or even plastic crockery, everything is made out of plastics. Just by banning the plastic bags won’t serve the purpose. We really have to think about reducing such kind of plastics and at the same time we have to start saying no to it. Since we demand all this, they are made available. The onus is on us as well. Out of 100 customers if 90 people say ‘NO’ to it, the vendors would automatically stop selling plastic products.
“It is stated that plastics less than 50 micron should be banned. But in packing, lot of things are less than 50 microns then why it is then imposed only for plastic bags?
There has to be a blanket rule, that the packaging needs to be sorted. A lot of people say that it is biodegradable plastic but yet again this has to be segregated and recycled,” she adds.
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