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WED : International Workshop held on 'Plastic Waste Management'

A one-day online International Workshop on "Plastic Waste Management" to commemorate World Environment Day on June 5, 2023 was organized by the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies in Lucknow which was established by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.

The workshop was conducted in collaboration with various organizations including the Center for People & Environ from Bangladesh, Ecobricks Alliance from Indonesia, GFSRD and GFSRD-Global Centre for Rural Urban Linkages Studies from Malaysia, CosmoMinds from India, NETRA Foundation from Assam, SSHP from Himachal Pradesh, RSNH from Rajasthan, MPSS from West Bengal, and INBAR.

The program commenced with the inauguration by Er. A. K. Gupta, Additional Director of the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies in Lucknow. In his welcome and inaugural address, Gupta emphasized the impact of the growing urban population and human activities on the urban environment and the sustainability of natural resources. He expressed concerns about the depletion, degradation, and disharmony with nature caused by the changing lifestyle of humans.

Dr. A. K. Singh, Head of the Global Centre for Rural Urban Linkages Studies and Assistant Director of the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies in Lucknow, provided an overview of the plastic waste crisis. Referring to the Global Plastics Outlook Report by OECD, he highlighted that approximately 6.1 million tons of plastic waste had leaked into aquatic environments, with 1.7 million tons ending up in the oceans. The report estimated that around 30 million tons of plastic waste currently reside in seas and oceans. India has experienced a significant increase in plastic production, reaching 18.45 million tons in 2020, while the country's plastic waste is estimated to be around 3.47 million tons, with approximately 50 percent remaining unutilized.

WED-Tripura-GFSRDDuring the workshop, various experts delivered presentations on different aspects of plastic waste management. Ar. Mustapha Kamal Zulkarnain, Global Head of Projects and Policy at GFSRD in Malaysia, focused on the strategic approaches to managing plastic waste in the tourism sector. He emphasized the need to encourage businesses in the industry to adopt sustainable practices that minimize plastic waste generation.

Muhammad Abdur Rahaman, Director of CPE in Bangladesh, delivered a lecture on the network and tariff model in sustainable urban waste management in Bangladesh. He highlighted the challenges of waste generation, dumping, collection, and disposal, as well as the sustainable waste management practices and services in urban local bodies (ULBs) of Bangladesh.

Dr. Salim Reza, Regional Programme Manager at INBAR in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, conducted a session on bamboo resources as an alternative to plastic products. He highlighted the emerging potential of bamboo resources in African, Southeast Asian countries, and particularly in India, for promoting sustainable rural livelihoods, generating employment, reducing carbon emissions, and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Bamboo products were presented as environmentally friendly, sustainable, renewable, and green alternatives to plastic.

Ani Himawati, Principal of the Global Ecobricks Alliance in Indonesia, discussed the organization's mission of accelerating the local plastic transition. She explained that ecobricks are plastic bottles filled with used plastic to create reusable building blocks and sequester plastic. Ecobricks were presented as a regenerative solution to sequester plastic, prevent pollution, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Dr. Abhishek Awasthi, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment at Maharaja Agrasen University in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, provided insights into the Indian perspective on plastic waste management. He highlighted the wide-ranging applications of plastic globally, including packaging films, wrapping materials, bags, fluid containers, clothing, toys, household and industrial products, and building materials.

Dr. Pranjal Phukan, CEO of CosmoMinds in India, discussed the focus on developing innovative plastic recycling technologies tailored to the needs of economically challenged regions. He highlighted trends such as decentralized recycling systems, low-cost recycling techniques like pyrolysis and chemical recycling, and the adoption of mobile recycling units and community-based collection initiatives. These approaches have improved plastic waste management in underserved areas.

The program concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Jayanta Choudhury, Founder of GFSRD and Head of the Department of Rural Studies at Tripura University, Agartala. He emphasized the importance of replacing plastic products with bamboo alternatives, changing community mindsets to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles, and adhering to the three Rs of plastic waste management: reduce, recycle, and reuse.

The workshop was jointly coordinated by Dr. A. K. Singh and Mr. Himanshu Chandra, Assistant Directors of the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.

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