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26-September -2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,The PIB ( Press Information Bureau )

1. Bangalore tackles plastic menace

Topic: GS3 – waste management.

Context:

  • Bengaluru, Karnataka’s capital, is actively working towards reducing plastic usage in daily life through innovative initiatives.
  • The “No Straw Nariyal Challenge” is part of the Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign and is led by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
  • The campaign aims to address the problem of plastic waste associated with tender coconut vendors across the city.

Some factual data about plastic waste generation in India:

  • India generates around 3.4 million tonnes (MT) of plastic waste annually, which is the third highest in the world after China and the United States.
  • Only around 30% of plastic waste in India is recycled, leaving the rest to be landfilled or incinerated.

Issues with plastic waste:

  • Environmental Pollution: Plastic waste is a major contributor to environmental pollution. It litters landscapes, clogs waterways, and accumulates in oceans, harming ecosystems and wildlife.
  • Long Decomposition Period: Most plastics take hundreds of years to decompose, leading to persistent environmental hazards.
  • Microplastic Pollution: Plastics break down into tiny particles known as microplastics, which can infiltrate water sources and enter the food chain, posing health risks.
  • Health Risks: Improper disposal and incineration of plastics release toxic chemicals into the air, soil, and water, potentially harming human health.
  • Waste Management Challenges: Managing plastic waste is costly and challenging for many countries, leading to inadequate disposal and recycling efforts.
  • Marine Life Impact: Marine animals often ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in injury or death.
  • Aesthetic and Tourism Impact: Plastic pollution negatively affects the aesthetics of natural landscapes and can deter tourism, impacting local economies.
  • Economic Costs: Cleaning up plastic waste, mitigating its environmental effects, and addressing health issues result in significant economic costs for governments and communities.

Issues with plastic waste management in India:

  • Inadequate infrastructure: Lack of proper facilities for plastic waste collection and recycling.
  • Informal recycling sector: Unregulated and often unsafe recycling practices.
  • Low awareness: Limited knowledge about plastic waste’s environmental impact.
  • Single-use plastic usage: Widespread use of disposable plastics.
  • Inefficient collection: Gaps in waste collection systems.
  • Weak regulations: Limited enforcement of plastic use rules.
  • Low recycling rates: Insufficient plastic recycling efforts.
  • Limited innovation: Scarcity of sustainable plastic alternatives and recycling technologies.

Possible solutions:

  • Invest in Recycling Infrastructure: Develop and expand recycling facilities and collection systems for effective plastic waste management.
  • Formalize Informal Recycling: Integrate the informal recycling sector into the formal waste management system, ensuring safety and compliance.
  • Education and Awareness: Launch nationwide campaigns to educate citizens about the environmental impact of plastic waste and promote responsible usage.
  • Ban Single-Use Plastics: Implement and enforce bans on single-use plastics or levy taxes to discourage their use.
  • Improve Collection Efficiency: Strengthen waste collection systems, especially in underserved areas, and promote segregated waste collection.
  • Enforce Regulations: Enforce strict regulations on plastic production, usage, and disposal, penalizing non-compliance.
  • Boost Recycling Efforts: Incentivize recycling industries, research innovative recycling technologies, and establish buy-back schemes.
  • Promote Alternatives: Encourage the use of eco-friendly alternatives like biodegradable plastics and reusable materials.

Mains question: Discuss the impact of India’s plastic waste management crisis, and propose comprehensive policy measures to address this issue effectively. 

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1960334

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