Plastic waste - iceberg & playing catch-up

This Op-ed in today’s The Hindu, and the statistics cited, are hugely triggering.

From the article: “India has one of the highest mismanaged waste index (MWD, at 98.55%, in the world (after Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique) which is the gap in waste management capacity and plastic consumption. The Government of India claims that it recycles 60% of plastic waste.
In statistical analysis done by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) using CPCB data,
India is merely recycling (through mechanical recycling) 12% of its plastic waste. Close to 20% of this waste is channelised for end-of-life solutions such as co-incineration, plastic-to-fuel and road making, which means we are burning 20% of our plastic waste and still calling it ‘recycling’ and when 68% of plastic waste is unaccounted for.”

Let’s keep in mind that global rankings/comparisions tend to hide the geo-political constraints (of production, management and disposal).

All the same, efforts in ‘waste’ (terrible word) and plastic are almost all focussed on the clean-up/management side of solutions i.e. after the waste is generated. Recycling and EPR is broken and unreliable in India. Does anyone have case-studies for these from South Korea, esp from policy & implementation perspective?

In my view, ‘waste’ is an ever-increasing problem. The plastic waste mountain especially is actually an ever-expanding iceberg - what is visible is a fraction of what is generated and not dealt with. When will we look at this in terms of materials with emphasis on prevention, reduction, circularity?

@warrior_vishal @WasteWarriors @Archana_Saahas @Saahas_Updates @debadityo @SWMRT @Smarinita @Parij @PRADAN @Arundhati.goonj

McKinsey estimates that the world will have excess plastic recycling capacity within a few years. The big problem still remains - how to get the plastic waste to the recycling facilities.

Existing recycling infrastructure is not utilised optimally - am not sure if more recycling infra will lead to less waste/pollution. Also, why not reduce/prevent yo start with?

Conservation is a failed strategy. It will not succeed and must be abandoned.

Plastics are essential for human civilisation, and their use will only grow. It will not come down and probably should not.

The right strategy is to use plastics more sustainably and focus on systems that enable proper disposal and recycling. Waste management must improve. Eliminating waste generation is a waste of time and resources - it won’t work.