What's the article about?
The article talks about the negative implications of plastics and measures in order to move towards sustainable economy.
Syllabus: GS3 Conservation, Environmental Pollution
- As per UNEP, only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled and about 12% has been incinerated, while the remaining 79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment.
- As per (CPCB), India generates close to 26,000 tons of plastic a day and over 10,000 tons a day of plastic waste remains uncollected.
- (UNEP) last year estimated that emissions of plastic waste into aquatic ecosystems may triple by 2040 if no meaningful action is taken.
Plastic – A negative externality
- Long decomposition time, hence end up as solid waste in water, land etc.
- Threat to marine wildlife faces problems like plastic ingestion, and deaths due to trapping in plastic.
- Health challenges in humans due to biomagnification of plastic waste.
- Land, air and water pollution due to lack of proper waste management mechanism.
- Energy intensive: Production of plastic materials is very energy intensive and requires a lot of water.
- Poor Drainage: Drainage system clogged with plastic bags, films, and other plastic items, causes flooding.
Plastic ban at many countries, negative impact:
- The plastic industry in the country employs about 40 lakh people.
- A ban on plastics will affect industry, leading to job loss and an economic slowdown.
- Command and control approach, and fiscal reforms like eco-taxes or subsidies should be taken.
- Eco-taxes at both the production and consumption sides may help in changing the behavior of consumers, too.
- Comprehensive policy measures against plastics by including:
- Removing existing taxes/remedies in plastic production
- Restructuring existing taxes in an eco-friendly manner.
- Accounting for different types of grades of plastics.
- Promoting multiple use of plastics through better waste management
- Educating the public on the harmful use of plastics
- Providing subsidy for research and development activities for substitute development, waste management and use of waste for constructive usage like roads.
Hence a collaborative effort needed for a plastic free environment by stressing on 4R's, that is, reduce, reuse, recycle and recovery.