Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
6) There is a need for a multipronged approach to reduce and ultimately phase out the consumption of plastics. Critically comment, in the light of the failure of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, to address the issue.(250 words)
Why this question
Plastics have become ubiquitous not only in their usage but unfortunately due to their indiscriminate usage, in the environment as well. They pose significant health and environmental problems which demands reduction in the usage and ultimately phasing out plastics. In case of India, although we have Plastic Waste Management Rules in place, the usage of plastic has not come down and their recycle and reuse has not increased upto the expected levels. The issue is related to GS 3 syllabus under the following heading-
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to bring out the need (and key principles governing such approach) to reduce and ultimately phase out the use of plastics in India. We also have to shed light on why the Plastic Waste Management Rules already in place have not been able to address the issue.
Critically Comment- We have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and based upon our discussion we have to form a personal opinion on the overall issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Mention that India generates an estimated 16 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually. Also mention that this plastics poses several environmental and health concerns for all the living species on earth.
- Mention the key provisions of Plastic Waste Management Rules.
- Discuss in points the key provisions of the Plastic Waste Management Rules. E.g only multilayered plastics (MLP) allowed ( which was however amended by the recent amendment to the rules and now the use is restricted to those plastics which have an alternate use and are energy recoverable); Burning of MLPs ( energy conversion or alternate use) even though scientific procedures is not advisable as it omits harmful toxins, that affects environment and public health;
- Discuss in points why these rules have not been effective in achieving the desired goals. E.g lack of awareness, slack implementation, lack of support from civil society and people in general, lack of access to alternatives of plastic etc.
- Discuss how the issue should be handled. E.g decrease use and then phase out, involve the people and the civil society in the awareness and behavioural change process, more research on the quantity of plastics produced in the country, their effects on environment, plant and animal life and on the environment, strict enforcement of the rules etc
Conclusion– form a fair, balanced and a concise opinion on the overall issue. Mention the ocean charter recently agreed to by G7 minus 2.