The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a non-governmental trade association and interest group, has signed a pact with the World Wide Fund for Nature – India (WWF India), the Indian arm of the Switzerland-based non-governmental organization (NGO), to set up a platform for Supporting the circular economy in the Indian plastics industry.
The pact, known as India Plastics Pact (IPP), the first of its kind in Asia, is an ambitious and collaborative initiative that aims to bring together businesses, governments and NGOs to set time-bound commitments to tackle plastic pollution and then reduce it the disposal of plastic waste in the environment. The pact aims to increase the recycling of plastic waste and thus promote the circular economy.
The aim of the pact is to define a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging by 2030 and to take measures to remedy this through redesign and innovation, 100 percent of plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable, 50 percent of plastic packaging is effectively recycled and 25 percent average recycling rate for all plastic packaging.
“It is extremely important to have such a strategically important force in the region and on the global stage on board with your own plastics pact. The potential environmental and economic benefits of meeting the pact’s ambitious goals are enormous for India. We were able to bring to CII and WWF India all of the knowledge and expertise we have gained in supporting plastic packages around the world, ”said Marcus Gover, Chief Executive Officer of WRAP, a UK charity.
“Plastic pollution is a global issue and the opportunity to realign plastic as a resource in the value chain is a global opportunity. Collaboration is key to unlock this and the IPP is a testament to the Research and Innovation Partnership (UKRI) between India and the UK to address key global issues, ”said Rebecca Fairbairn, UKRI Director.
The pact is gaining in importance as around 40 percent of India’s estimated 9.46 million tons of annual plastics production, mostly single-use products, is not collected. This means that almost 3.78 million tons of plastic waste are released into the environment in India alone every year. About half of India’s plastics production is used in the packaging industry.
“This plastic waste pollutes water, air and soil. Millions of tons of plastic swim in the sea or in the river. Small water channels and ponds built to irrigate agricultural crops have also been polluted with tons of plastic waste submerged in them. The irresponsible disposal of plastic waste endangers the survival of living things on earth. This needs to be curbed immediately, ”said a senior representative in the industry.
Similar to the one signed and implemented in Europe, America, Australia and Africa, the IPP was supported by 27 companies and supporting organizations including major Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands, manufacturers, retailers and recyclers. Large multinational companies such as Amazon.com, Inc, Coca Cola India Pvt Ltd and Mondelez India Foods Pvt Ltd have teamed up as founding partners.
The pact is a collaboration between WWF India and CII – anchored in the CII-ITC Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CESD) and supported by WRAP. WRAP provides operational and technical support for many other plastic pacts as well as the UK plastic pact which envisions a world where plastic is valued and not polluting.
Meanwhile, the commitments made under the Pact aim to keep plastic packaging in the economy and out of the natural environment by developing a unified national framework for a circular economy. That means with coordinated goals and reports for companies to reduce plastics from their value chains, measured against defined schedules.
Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), said at the launch of IPP, “India is currently working on several bold initiatives to reduce plastic waste and is committed to building a closed loop plastic system to overcome waste management challenges . With a UKRI presence in India, we saw an opportunity to continue our work with WRAP to help our international partners replicate the successes of the UK Plastic Pact. “
India has already announced a ban on single-use plastics from July 1, 2022. Once used, single-use plastics remain undetected by rag pickers and thus further pollute the environment.
DILIP KUMAR JHA