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Plastic Overshoot Days

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Pollution, Environment Conservation

 

Source: Ground Report, DTE

Context: In 2023, India experienced 157 days of plastic overshoot, which means that the country generated and accumulated a significant amount of plastic waste that exceeded its waste management capacity.

 

Also, in another news, a recent report highlights that India is one of the 12 countries accountable for 52% of the global mismanaged plastic waste, alongside nations like China, Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States.

 

What is Plastic Overshoot Day?

Plastic Overshoot Day marks the point in a year when the amount of plastic waste generated exceeds the capacity to properly manage and dispose of it. It signifies a tipping point where the world accumulates more plastic waste than can be effectively handled by waste management systems.

 

World’s first Plastic Overshoot Day on July 28, 2023, was marked recently.

Status of Plastic (as per the Report):

  • India has Mismanaged Waste Index (MWI) (ratio of the mismanaged waste and the total waste) of over 98%
  • India categorized as ‘The Waste Sponges’: It contributed a staggering over 73 lakh ton of mismanaged plastic waste in 2023
  • India has a relatively low annual per capita plastic consumption of 5.3 kg (USA has 221 kg)
  • 1.33 % of its total plastic waste was imported, while the country exported 0.8 % of its total waste
  • India will contribute an average of 16.7 days of plastic overshoot to the environment in 2023.

 

Measures Needed:

MeasureExample
Reduce Single-Use PlasticsBan on plastic straws and cutlery
Promote Recycling and Circular EconomyImplementing bottle deposit return systems
Improve Waste Collection and ManagementIncreasing the number of recycling bins
Raise Public AwarenessConducting anti-plastic campaigns
Enforce Extended Producer ResponsibilityManufacturers responsible for plastic waste
Innovate Packaging SolutionsCreating biodegradable packaging materials
PoliciesIncreasing investment in waste management policies like Extended Producer Responsibility
Global Treaty There is a  need for a global treaty on plastic pollution

 

Initiatives by India:

  • 1000 Cities to become 3-Star Garbage Free by October 2024
  • Mission LiFe
  • Plastic Waste Management Rule
  • Ban on single use of plastics
  • Beat Plastic Pollution’campaign to maintain the cleanliness and environmental integrity of the state’s beaches (by Kerala Government)

 

Global Initiatives (for microplastics):

 

Conclusion: 

Further efforts should include enhancing India’s plastic waste tracking system, enforcing transparency in plastic usage by brands, involving the informal sector in the formal plastic management process, and creating product packaging that considers the final disposal stage.

 

Insta Links:

   

Mains Links:

We need to slow the flow of plastic at its source, but we also need to improve the way we manage our plastic waste. Examine. (10M)