Salvation from plastic - Recycling minds along with waste by Team Rocket
Collaborating NGOs with Educational Institutes, Govt. & social welfare schemes to minimize and treat plastic waste through processing plants
Plastics are one of the most extensively used substances in the society. But such tremendous use of plastic goes hand in hand with the problem of accumulation of plastic wastes in landfills, seas and oceans. It really requires a global and comprehensive solution that includes systemic rethinks about usage and production. We need a sustainable approach because certainly a ban on plastic items is not a quick fix for this issue.
Almost one third of the plastic waste goes directly to the junkyards, dumping grounds and water bodies. Around 8 million metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans every year.
Littering is probably the severest problem related to plastics. The carbon footprint of plastic (LDPE or PET, polyethylene) is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic. Recycling of plastic saves on average about 2.5 kg CO2 per kg of plastic.
In India, About 90% of total waste is collected but only 26% is processed. No organised/systematic system has been developed by concerned municipal authorities for collection, segregation, transportation and disposal of plastics waste. There is an urgent need to tackle this menace of plastic waste management.
We propose the Formation of a Corporate foundation for Plastic Waste Management recognized by the govt. of India where knowledge and expertise would meet experience to bring about awareness and offer turn-key solutions for the involvement of youth in shifting the behaviour of the country towards climatic change by the amalgamation of PWM Committee with various NGOs, educational institutions and Clean India Mission. India’s Higher Educational System is the third largest in the world and such huge Number of students from these institutions can play a very pivotal role in such a behavioral change of the people. With proper financial support from government and voluntary financial support of private firms under the name of CSR would provide adequate resources for spreading awareness and keeping a check on plastic waste.
Is this proposal for a practice or a project?
What actions do you propose?
Formation of a Corporate foundation (charitable foundation which serves as a channel for distribution of a firm's profits into non-profit activities) for “Plastic Waste Management” recognized by the govt. of India which would include top environmentalists, researchers, company employees and government employees from pollution and HRD ministry.
The initial step of the proposal is to target most famous religious places and tourist spots of the country as the plastic waste is highest in these areas. The PWM Committee would join hands with various NGOs of the targeted city to collect beggars and persuade them to work for the NGO on a paid basis. People hired by the NGOs shall be doing ‘Paid Rag-picking’ at the targeted areas.
Awareness and facts are two key components to bring a change in behaviour or attitude of any individual and spreading awareness among citizens of the country is the prime concern of the project. Social Welfare Schemes like Scouts & Guides, NSS(National Service Scheme), NCC(National Cadet Corps) and various other social welfare programs are a major part of the curriculum in every university in India. Presently these schemes are getting proper government support for their respective aims and ideology.
Therefore, the first task of the PWM committee would be to deal with the supreme authorities of the mentioned schemes regarding their support on the issue of plastic management. Once this is done, there would be enough students to start an awareness program in the institutes and in the targeted areas.
Educational institutions will be playing the biggest role in this project. Considering the fact that students represent most of the country’s youth population, student involvement in any reform is a must. Hence we propose that universities and schools encourage the involvement of each and every student at least in any one of the social welfare schemes and make it a compulsion if needed.
Next task will be to spread the awareness regarding the harmful effects of plastic accumulation on the ground among common people and ways to manage the waste effectively, through rallies, banners, street plays, competitions, speeches, informative videos, awareness marathons, cycle rallies and various other attention catching fun activities.
We propose to start the awareness program with a set of more mature students studying in the universities and soon collaborate the school going students in the ongoing activities for spreading awareness. School students work very actively and with full heart for such welfare activities. Also, any correct message from a student to the society is always tempting elders to do the right thing. Students shall emphasize on following important points during the awareness programs :
~ Reuse and Recycle Plastic
~ Use of Twin-Bin system at home
~ Proper disposal of Plastic Waste in the society
~ Promotion of tetra packing instead of plastic packaging for perishable food items.
~ Drinkable water packing (new innovative product)
~ Biodegradable plastic bags in shops.
University students can be assigned compulsory projects to join the awareness programs and projects regarding studies of plastic waste management trends, impact and reach of the awareness program, Problems faced in implementation of the proposal, solution to these problems, new and innovative additions to the existing system, ways to increase the efficiency of the system etc.
Small kids can be inculcated with good practices which favors judicious use of plastics in schools. This can be easily accomplished by introducing a new subject which deals with all the good practices. In India, schools mainly focus on academics so this can bring a drastic change in the school structure for the betterment of people. Also habits get imprinted in the brains of kid easily compared to adults so targeting them will give much satisfying outputs.
A smooth collaboration of students (volunteers), NGOs, Researchers and employees governed by the PWD committee would ensure a common stage where such activities for spreading awareness will be recognized, appreciated, funded and executed.
Indian Government launched “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission)” in 2014. It is India's largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign. The mission is about cleaning the environment and with increasing amount of waste to be treated, the processing and dumping of plastic waste still remains a problem. No special arrangements for processing the waste is done yet which is resulting in increased number of landfill sites.
Our proposal is ultimately about controlling the waste production and processing the waste which could prove to be an integral part of the clean India mission. With such huge number of students and volunteers spreading awareness about the plastic waste, the awareness program would definitely make headlines, and we expect officials of the Swachh Bharat Mission to sense the benefits from it and support the PWM committee by either recognizing it as their partners or providing it with all the requirements.
In 2014, India enacted a mandatory minimum CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) spending law. Under Companies Act, 2013, any company having a net worth of 500 crore or more or a turnover of 1,000 crore or a net profit of 5 crore must spend 2% of their net profits on CSR activities.
The best way to spread awareness among the community is through television. The central authority can ask a few famous companies/brands to advertise this motion along with their product. Any company will be ready to support us since it will help them gain public trust
The PWM committee would persuade private firms that a part of CSR amount from the eligible companies is utilized for the plastic waste management.
Apart from this, PWM committee shall propose a voluntary participation of every private firm irrespective of its net worth in the name of CSR to generate more capital which will be helpful in paying the wages of the people doing rag-picking.
Also NGOs would request the private universities to donate some fraction of their profit for this work under the name of CSR.
A number of recycling plants and plastic treatment plants would be installed in the targeted cities which would be funded by the government of India and the donations received by NGOs. Once the plants are in working condition the hiring of machine operators, managers, supervisors, transport and maintenance teams, and the labor will take place. The PWM Committee would take care of the smooth functioning of the same.
The recycled product output from the plants shall be sold to plastic industries and the profit made out of it will be used for salaries of the workers of the plant.
Educational Institutions would be encouraged to start social welfare schemes at the university level to bring together even more number of volunteers working for plastic waste management.
With the combine efforts of NCC, NSS and such other volunteers, huge amount of plastic waste can be supplied to the recycling plants and further processed to be again used in the institute.
PWM committee shall also persuade digital media for Free commercials in the name of CSR. These advertisements would not only help in spreading the awareness among common people but also encourage the private firms to donate for the cause.
With proper support from the central and state governments, NGOs and educational institutes every city will be having a multilevel PWM Committee with a supreme committee governing all the city level committees to ensure the following tasks-
Targeting the right cities, policy making and resource management activities
Bring in proper CSR amount from all the concerned companies and private universities
Bringing in various NGOs to work for the cause and save environment
Establishing plastic waste recycling plants and proper recruitment of employees
Proper management and sale of the finished (recycled) product to the industry
The smooth collaboration of NGOs, Plants employees and students(volunteers from NSS, NCC or swachh bharat mission)
Proper measures for quickly spreading the awareness regarding plastic waste even to the rural areas.
Who will take these actions?
The formation of PWM Committee shall be done by joint interests of NGOs and Indian Government. The committee would hold the supreme authorities over all the actions being taken by volunteers, hence the choice of committee members will be wise and diversified. Committee should be capable of dealing with problems related to any area. Therefore we propose a 3-tier PWM Committee -
1. Supreme committee at Central level - This team would be dealing directly with the government (central and state). Committee would consist of top researchers and environmentalists, people from central and state governments (i.e from various ministries concerned), and people with commendable business approach. A team consisting of quality analysts (including govt. officials) shall keep a track of the progress and difficulties in implementation of the proposal and give solutions for overcoming all the shortcomings. This would definitely increase the knowledge of students and they would understand the urgent need of spreading awareness in the society.
2.State level committee - There would be many teams distributed according to the targeted cities. Each team would comprise of Govt. officials, officials provided by private firms and institutes for CSR activities and people representing their respective NGOs. This committee would also look after the working of newly installed plastic processing plants. Plastic processing is a hazardous job Hence good Compliance is a must. A Compliance and auditing team consisting of 3-4 people each would be a part of this committee.
3.Ground level Committee - responsible for all the work, committee would mainly comprise of student volunteers (from social welfare schemes of government and the educational institutes), members of NGOs and any other volunteers from any field willing to work for the cause.
Exact strength of these committees is difficult to predict at this stage. It will be dynamic depending upon the workload and requirements.
Active participation of NGOs and the Educational institutions is also an important aspect for successful implementation of the idea. Inventing creative ways for spreading awareness and encouraging people to do their part towards the environment are some of the tasks.
People actively participating in the “Swachh Bharat Mission” would also happily help as this project is a cleaning mission too.
Employment opportunities generated from paid- rag picking and new plastic treatment plants would definitely attract unemployed population making them equally important for the project.
Awareness advertisements through digital media will increase the speed of influencing the public. Social media also comes in handy when digital advertising is concerned.
Proper CSR amount is necessary for proper implementation of ideas. Hence financial support from the private firms and educational institutions is important in performing actions. People donating money would indirectly be helping in completion of the tasks/actions proposed.
Where will these actions be taken?
The Primary aim of this proposal is to start the Awareness programs in the areas near educational institutes. A majority of both urban and rural population is unaware of problem and the consequences which come with it. The plastic waste production in urban areas is much higher than the rural areas and most of the students/volunteers will come from universities most of which would be situated in cities. Hence initially the awareness program would target urban population. Most of the cities in India already experience various roadshows, rallies, street plays, speeches etc for political as well as advertisement purposes. Hence the proposed awareness program will not undergo much trouble in cities.
Social Media is another platform where these actions are needed to be advertised. The proposed rallies, roadshows, street plays etc. if covered by newspapers, news channels and social media, the reach of the awareness program would increase exponentially.
Schools and universities would also play a decisive role as students are the center of this proposal. Hence we expect full devotion and hard work from the most educated sector of the society. Schools and universities can hold conferences regarding the awareness programs and can even host big scale fests in collaboration with PWM committee and swachh bharat mission. Its important that the students remain the center of the project as India is a youth dominant country.
Many NGOs run schools of their own and can easily initiate the idea of bringing in a compulsory subject on Waste Management and Good practices for primary school students.
This proposal is also aimed to target top tourist spots and religious destinations in the country. Amount of plastic waste produced will mainly determine the targets.
Initially the plastic processing plants would be installed in the targeted cities for processing waste from specific areas. Later on, waste of whole city may be processed.
Once the work in targeted cities is complete, we can apply same model to other cities also and ultimately to the the rural areas as well.
The plastic waste dumped into the rivers are causing death of many great rivers in the country. Therefore the processing of plastic waste from rivers is also a commendable future scope of the proposal.
In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.
No country selected
No country selected
What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?
As of now, according to estimation the plastic waste generated is 15342 tons/day. Now the small scale factories in our project can treat 150 kg of plastic waste per hour. And the carbon footprint of plastic is approximately equal to 6 kg CO2 /Kg. Using simple arithmetic we can calculate the amount of CO2 released per day in the present time that is 92052 ton of CO2 per day. On implementation of the project we can assume that 60 factories are installed all over India. This results in treatment of (60 X 150 X 24 = )216000 kg of plastic per day. So the untreated waste generation after initial stage of implementation is (15342 – 216 =) 15126 ton. This results in 90756 tons of CO2 per day. This is just the decrement of 1.4 % of CO2 emission but since it is just the initial stage any progress is welcomed. We expect to install at least 5000 units of this factories within the next year of proposal implementation.
With plastic processing plants already running under municipal corporation, we would surely decrease the amount of untreated waste that ultimately is dumped at landfill sites.
Quality research and proper selection of awareness spreading activities done by students would surely leave a mark on students as well as other citizens of the country.
What are other key benefits?
A product of a reaction is most of the time accompanied by some by-products. Similarly, other than waste management this whole mechanism will contribute toward environment, economy and the society.
Since people’s health and conservation of resources is the responsibility of every government, plastic waste collection and its disposal plays a very important role in global cleanliness and sustainability drive. Plastic waste can cause air, water and land pollution. Burning plastic releases CO2 and CO in huge quantity. This problem can only be addressed by proper waste management. This waste when enters water bodies, reaks down in micro particles and results in plastic mud. This mud makes an entrance to the small aquatic creatures and in this way plastics invade our food chain. The toxics like lead, mercury, cadmium etc come directly from the waste and causes cancer, birth defects, weakens immune system etc. So basically, plastic waste management keeps a check on CO and CO2 emission, protects food chain and makes this earth look beautiful.
Recycling not only helps in conservation of the natural resource, but also reduces the cost of production of plastic products . Landfills also results in unused or underused land problems. With the growing population, the demand of land is increasing exponentially and land problems can amplify these
problems to a greater extend.
As far as society is concerned, our idea of waste management will generate employment opportunities with decent work for skilled as well as unskilled people. This can help reducing the number of people below poverty line. The involvement of students would create a trend on social media attracting even more involvement. The idea of inculcating knowledge about the issue in primary schools will prove to be a big reason for the change in attitudes of children as well as their parents over a course of time.
Also, since controlling wastage is controlling diseases, the country will be globally recognized as a better place to live.
The proposal would prove to be huge help in the ongoing “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” in the country which is again a project of national importance.
What are the proposal’s projected costs?
~Govt. schemes like NCC, NSS, Scouts & Guides all work for their respective causes. Bringing together these groups to work for a same cause in addition to their ongoing projects.
~Collaboration of private companies and govt. over the setup of plastic processing plants.
~Getting permission from the schools and colleges to install the plants near them.
The proposal has a variety of activities which are to be followed & not every activity is investment oriented. It is very hard to provide the estimated cost of the project as the scope of improvement and application of innovative projects is humongous.
The amount of money invested by the government and private firms is not predictable as the participation of private firms is voluntary and the support from central and state government would depend on many political factors.
As far as plastic processing plants are concerned, around 6 lakhs/ plant installation cost is claimed by “Wali Engineering Works”, a company of indian origin situated in Hyderabad whereas Europack machines india pvt ltd claims to install a plant at 8.5lakhs per plant with capacity of 150Kg/hr
Salaries of the Compliance team & Sales team would also depend upon number of processing plants installed.
The amount of plastic waste produced in religious and tourist areas suggest that the plastic processing plants would reach the Break Even within 1 year.
Most of the awareness programs will be funded by CSR amount received from private firms. Committee would invite more companies to invest in such a project of national importance and hold shares in this venture.Other investment that needs to be done is the government funds for processing plants, which would in turn make profit from sales. Break even is also estimated within a year, which means there is minimum risk in making an investment with guaranteed returns.
The project is to perform a collaboration of such a large scale which rarely happens in countries. Collaborating NGOs, Government, Educational Institutes, Social Welfare Groups and Private firms is a huge and a time taking task. Installation of Plastic Processing Plants looks like an easier task. The first task is the formation of Corporate Foundation or PWM Committee. Timeline of the project would start only after the committee is formed.
1-5 years : In the initial year, a number of meetings, talks, discussions and awareness programs would take place which would revolve around the PWM committee members. After the 3 year mark, the committee would be officially working for the time period required to tapping the CSR funds from companies having worth of more than 5 crores. Meanwhile, deciding targets, increasing them with time, installation of processing plants at each target, expansion of student volunteers, Increase in the number of private firms (willing to invest) and advertisement of the project will take place.
Till five years there wouldn’t be any noticeable impact of the project, neither on the amount of plastic waste dumped nor on the citizens of the country as spread of awareness over the issue can’t be so quick.
5-15 years : A large section of the society would be aware and participating in the project during this period. Government support would be more prominent once the awareness programs prove their worth and plastic processing plants reach break even. Advertisement over digital media for years will also be a great help in spreading awareness. We estimate that almost every educational institution would be having a processing plant and a full proof methodological approach for smooth working of the student and other sections of the collaboration. With this amount of students involved in spreading the awareness we’re sure that 15th year would mark our project a complete success.
15:30 years: this is the phase to maintain smooth working among all the authorities involved. Follow proper compliance and expand the project wherever necessary. Most of the Urban people would know about the consequences and causes of plastic waste and awareness of the rural population would be our only concern
As we already mentioned that our project is a great help for “Swachh Bharat Mission”, if the government recognizes our idea and makes us a part of their mission, the above mentioned picture would be somewhat different.
About the author(s)
~ Nimish Rajouria : Third year mechanical engineering student from DEI, Agra
Active member of NSS and NCC from last 3 and 7 years respectively.
Linkedin profile : https://www.linkedin.com/in/nimish-rajouria-867bba127/
~ Shailja Bhatt : Second year ECE student from IIIT, Delhi
Active member of NCC from last 7 years.
~ Deepanshu Varshney : Second year computer science engineering student from DTU, Delhi
Active member of NSS from last 2 years
Mail : email@example.com
Clean India Mission- www.swachhbharaturban.in