Ashwini Chaubey, the minister of state in the environment ministry, recently revealed in the Lok Sabha that India has generated around 3.47 million tonnes per annum of plastic waste during the 2019-2020 period. Of that, approximately 1.58 million tonnes per annum (TPA) of the plastic waste was recycled and 0.16 million TPA was co-processed in cement kilns.
Nearly 55% of India's total waste produced in 2019-20 could not be recycled.
He was citing figures from the annual report by the Central Pollution Control Board for 2019-20.
Chaubey stated that there are 1,419 registered plastic waste processors under the Plastic Waste Management Rules.
He also mentioned that the plastic litter collected from beaches varies from 40 percent to 96 percent, according to a study by the National Center for Coastal Research.
The 'Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Report (2019-20)' specified that India generates around 3.5 million metric tonnes of plastic waste annually.
"Ministry under its central sector scheme 'Creation of Management Structures for Hazardous Substances' provides financial assistance for innovative technologies for environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes."Ashwini Chaubey, minister of state in Environment Ministry
How Other Nations Are Tackling Plastic Waste
77 countries in the world have passed full or partial bans on plastic bags, according to a 2021 United Nations report.
While developed countries are certainly taking action towards managing plastic waste, all eyes are on developing countries.
Kenya decided to ban single-use carrier bags and decided to enforce strict penalties with fines up to $40,000 in 2017. In 2020, Bangladesh decided to halt the use of toiletries and other plastic packaged goods in the hospitality industry.
20th June saw the Canadian government announce their decision to put an end to the use of "harmful" single-use plastics, with a ban on manufacturing and importing most of these items which comes into effect starting December.
In early 2020, China decided to ban any non-biodegradable bags in major cities by the end of the year and countrywide by 2022
Recently on 8 June 2022, the US Interior Department announced their intention to phase out plastic products on public lands within the next decade, specifically at national parks, in the hopes of tackling a major source of US plastic waste due to efforts faltering on the recycling front.
The Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016 and 2018 in India were recently amended in 2021 with a focus on single-use plastics. The rules establish categories of plastics and propose a number of different recycling methods for each kind of plastic used.
Plastic pollution has increased from two million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million tonnes by 2017 and is now a major global industry valued at $522.6 billion, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is expected to double in value by 2040.
11 million metric tonnes of plastic waste is discarded into water bodies annually. By 2040, the amount is expected to triple. Due to this, all 175 member countries of the UN Environment Assembly agreed to introduce a treaty for controlling plastic use by the end of 2024.
The Bloomberg Report declared that the producers of large amounts of plastic waste are not consumers, but rather, large companies.