Five Wecare Regional Conferences [Central, Western, Southern, Northern, and Eastern India] were recently organized by India’s industry consortium of Sustainability Officers – WeCare and India’s first policy and development media – The Policy Times. The Regional Conferences were aimed at creating awareness and promoting stakeholders exchanges & engagements on India’s latest Plastic waste management policies and the Single-Use Plastics ban to be imposed from July 1, 2022. The conferences helped achieve a blueprint of a socio-technical model for taking plastic waste management from informal to formal economy; a roadmap to establish environment-friendly plastic waste disposal solutions; and physical as well as virtual infrastructure for waste-free India.
800 industry leaders participated in the WeCare Conference – Central India held on 4th February 2022, where the Mayor of the South Delhi Municipal Commission (SDMC) highlighted the need for scientific collection, segregation-at-source, and then co-processing or recycling. Swachh Bharat Mission has brought immense progress in plastic recycling. Bhutan is a case in point to achieving a circular economy. Industry leaders agreed that Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) is becoming a very powerful tool for promoting and developing India’s plastic waste infrastructure.
Urban Development Minister of Uttarakhand and Jammu Mayor in addition to 500+ industry leaders join the first regional conference held on 25th February 2022 which reiterated to stop manufacturing of single-use plastics, the need of massive public awareness campaigns; explore alternatives to plastic packaging; promote innovative use of plastics in road construction. People’s participation is key to India’s policy success. There is a need to have involvement of citizens in terms of segregation of waste resources through a formal network of the hotel industry or through engaging the youth.
The second regional conference – Southern India held on 11th March 2022 presented the Japanese 3-collection routes model – self (shops and recyclers set up their collections), PRO (local govt designate organizations to collect), own collection (Local Gov’t collects directly). This has also highlighted the roadmap of building India’s recycling infrastructure. In terms of technology up-gradation or infrastructure development in the recycling industry or collection of waste, Southern India is leading the country. Rule 17 of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2015 prescribes the duties of the manufacturers, and brand owners for disposable products. The main objective is to develop local infrastructure for collection and recycling.
Hon’ble Minister of State for Urban Development Shri Kaushal Kishore was the Chief Guest of The third regional conference – Western India held on 1st April 2022 where the Urban development Minister shared his vision for a waste-free-India. India aims to be carbon neutral by 2070. We have enough time but timely actions are needed to achieve it. India identified 500 cities under SBM-1 and 4700+ cities under SBM-2 where India committed to making India garbage-free. Minister reiterated engaging the youth. An equal focus should be given to clean villages too along with cities. Social media should be leveraged to create awareness in India. Every Indian should take responsibility to clean India. Mr Kristin Hughes, Director, Global Plastic Action Partnership, & Member of Executive Committee – World Economic Forum highlighted its action plan for India.
Ms. Madhulika Sharma, Chief Sustainability Officer, ITC Limited represented the fourth WeCare regional conference – Eastern India held on 12th April 2022. Waste is being generated by the common man and their active participation is necessary to achieve the goal of making India waste-free. Therefore, technology helps to achieve the targets in an efficient manner but technology is also material-specific and needs segregated waste. The main focus is to bring active participation of the community into the system and ensure 100% segregation of waste. The Conference concluded that the use of plastic waste for construction applications will significantly improve environmental sustainability and will also serve as a reliable source of materials for construction purposes. Critical threats to the presence of plastic waste in our marine environment have also been presented.
About the Organizers:
WeCare is a credible platform for companies to collectively engage with various stakeholders and demonstrate leadership while managing plastic waste. It is a united voice of Industry for driving policy advocacy. WeCare (https://www.wecareforenvironment.com/) is a growing consortium of self-motivated businesses focused on the intent of the PWM Rules, a national platform for stakeholder engagement and Industry voice on EPR and Plastic Circularity.
The Policy Times, (www.thepolicytimes.com) is a Delhi based world’s first policy & development media, a strategic and practical Alliance of Policy and Business experts for policy advocacy and right business connections leading to prosperity of society and business through practical networking, consultations, conferences, business intelligence and research from our offices in Delhi, Nagpur, Kolkata, etc.