8,000 block level plastic waste management units on anvil
Every village will be asked to start waste segregation and send its plastic waste to the block level plastic waste management unit. The unit will work at converting waste into bales, and transport them to aggregators for recycling.
A committee of experts will soon be put in place for the same, and one of the first key measures planned is to collect plastic waste at the block level, officials said.
A plastic waste management unit for gathering and recycling of plastic waste will be set up in each of the 8,000 blocks in the country as per the proposed ODF Plus — part two of the Open Defecation Free mission steered by the drinking water and sanitation department (MDWS) under the Jal Shakti ministry that will dedicatedly look at gathering and recycling of plastic waste, officials said.
Every village will be asked to start waste segregation and send its plastic waste to the block level plastic waste management unit. The unit will work at converting the aggregated waste into bales, shred them and transport them to aggregators for recycling.
The Jal Shakti ministry is also looking at various ways to ensure that these block-level units are sustainable and emerge as business models. Currently, ragpickers and aggregators do not bother much about single use plastic collection as there is no value attached it. They pick up PET bottles as they are sent for recycling and hence help aggregators get some money for it.
Accordingly, the ministry is studying various possible business models to ensure that its block levels units are sustainable.
Some of the models already being implemented in Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are also being studied for scaling up across the country.
The ministry has begun discussing its plans with state governments.
While the Swachh Bharat Mission already calls for waste management and this includes plastic, further impetus will be given for collection and management of plastic waste, given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to cut use of single use plastic by 2020.
After the PM’s announcement on August 15, a drive was launched from September 11 to October 2 to collect single use plastic. More than 5,000 tonnes of plastic waste was collected through this drive while another 15,000 tonnes was collected by municipal bodies. This will be sent for recycling by October 27, the day of Diwali, to 90 odd cement plants and to the National Highways Authority of India for road construction.
ODF Plus apart, the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry will push for waste segregation across urban areas while the environment ministry is working to bring in a new extended producer responsibility (EPR) framework to ensure plastic manufacturers/industry users also ensure collection and disposal of the plastic after it is used.