Recycling plastic is the need of the hour

Neha Basudkar
Monday, 4 June 2018

In the run-up to World Environment Day celebrated on June 5, Sakal Times highlights the problems being faced in disposal of plastic waste.

Pune: After a recent spot visit to Uruli-Phursungi garbage dumping yard, it was revealed that there are huge heaps of plastic lying all over the place and it is going into the landfill. The Pune Municiapl Corporation (PMC) is unable to manage it. City-based environmentalists and activists opined that techniques for sustainable waste management should be used for recycling plastic waste by active participation of the civic body.

Suresh Jagtap, Head of PMC’s Solid Waste Management Department, said that currently the two processing units of Uruli-Phursungi are shut since 2013 because of arbitration, and as a result, the landfill is rising. “But we are soon going to start a processing plant in Ramtekdi. Till that time, plastic and other garbage will be going into the landfill,” said Jagtap. 

As per the 2016 Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules, the role of the municipality is to facilitate waste disposal and provide space for dry waste disposal. However, Kishori Gadre, former director of Janwani, alleged that municipal efforts and finances are concentrated more on collection of waste rather than disposing it scientifically. She suggested that by establishing a dry waste e-mandi, the corporation will be able to focus on scientific disposal. “With this policy intervention, we can divert municipal efforts to disposal rather than collection. The infrastructure will be like a regular market, where space will be provided for transport, warehousing and basic facilities,” said Gadre. 

“The manufacturers will be responsible for door-to-door dry waste collection and transport of the same to the mandi. In collaboration with the PMC, the work will be done faster and awareness will be spread. The plastic collected could be recycled into energy or in any material form,” said Gadre.

Talking about the plastic waste, which is already lying in the landfill, Medha Tadpatrikar, founder of Rudra Environmental Solutions, a city-based organisation that converts plastic waste into poly-fuel, said that recycling is the only way to deal with plastic pollution or waste. “The plastic, which is already lying in the landfill, cannot be used or recycled now. But the current generation of plastic waste of the city can be recycled. The government has to take measures to work on plastic pollution. We do door-to-door collection monthly and 18 to 19 tonnes of plastic waste is collected and we recycle it into fuel. The PMC should follow the same steps,” Tadpatrikar said.

Environmentalists Sujit Patwardhan and Vivek Velankar also suggested the same solution. “If we can come up with innovate ways to deal with plastic pollution, then why not the PMC?. They are just ignoring sustainable ways,” Patwardhan said.

Velankar said, “There are several NGOs coming up with innovate ways to deal with plastic pollution, only the PMC’s support is needed.”

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