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World Environment Day 2018: Thematic Session on Plastic Pollution and Management Held

New Delhi: A thematic knowledge conference on “Plastic Pollution and Management” was organized at “Vigyan Bhawan” here today to mark the beginning of 5-day long celebration of World Environment Day, 2018 (WED-2018).

Welcoming the delegates, Convenor, CII Working Group on Plastic Waste Management Mr Pradeep Banerjee highlighted the industry’s commitment towards sustainability, ease of doing business, economic growth through concepts of Circular Economy and Extended Producer Responsibility.

The Norwegian Ambassador presented the keynote address, highlighting the issue of marine pollution by micro plastics and the initiatives taken by Norway to address the same. He added that their plastic management strategy is focussed on ‘reducing single use plastics’ and ‘reusing/ recycling old products, as well as recyclable plastics’. The EU Ambassador to India mentioned EU Plastics strategy in his address and also mentioned about the ‘Plogging’ event carried out by EU member state representatives near India Gate, Delhi on the morning of June 1. It was also mentioned that an announcement of a ‘Green Pledge’ is being finalised by EU member states’ during the current WED-21018 event programmes for phasing out single use plastic saving energy and resources.

Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs briefed about the initiatives under Swachh Bharat Mission and its correlation with plastic pollution. The factual information on plastic pollution and the ‘SwachhtaSurvekshan’ undertaken by MoHUA was also shared. It was informed that 23 cities in India have achieved 100% segregation of waste.

Minister of State (EF&CC) Dr. Mahesh Sharma, pointed out that it is a proud moment for the country to be a global host for WED 2018. He underscored that historically and culturally, environment conservation forms important element in daily lives of fellow Indians and emphasized the contribution and commitment of the country to tackle plastic pollution. He stressed that collective efforts are needed to effectively and efficiently deal with the global problem of plastic pollution. Dr. Sharma emphasised that the role of Indian industry in combating the menace of plastic pollution and appealed the industry to come forward and take voluntary measures to tackle plastic pollution and create awareness of the same. The role of Ministry, as a regulator, was also highlighted during the address. It was further announced that the Prime Minister will also take part in the WED-2018 event on June 5.

Secretary, EF&CC, Shri C.K Mishra underlined the responsibility of each and every individual in tackling plastic pollution and taking specific measures to deal with single use plastic. It was also highlighted to look for alternatives through technological innovation and creating awareness. Additional Secretary, MoEFCC presented vote of thanks to the dignitaries, speakers and participants and mentioned that the Ministry is looking forward to the fruitful outcomes from the session.

          The first plenary session focused on key initiatives by the Indian industry for managing plastic waste. The session was moderated by Columnist-The Mint and Member IUCN-CEC Shri Ananda Banerjee. During the session, representatives from various industries and academia provided insights of plastic waste management in their respective areas through discussions and presentations. The speakers at the session included Prof. RajagopalanVasudevan (Padma Shri – Expert, Plastic Waste Management); Mr T Krishnakumar, Business Unit President-India Southwest Asia, Coca-Cola India; Mr Ahmed El Sheikh, Chief Executive Officer, Pepsico India Holdings Pvt Ltd; Mr Chitranjan Dar, Head- Life Sciences & Technology Centre, ITC Limited; Mr MaharajPandita, Regional Director-Technical Operations, Abbott Nutrition and Mr Sandeep Patel, Chief Executive Officer, NEPRA Resource Management Pvt Ltd

The Second plenary session hosted a special talk by a young student, Mr. Aditya Mukherji, volunteer of CHINTAN (NGO), who explained the harmful impacts of plastics on the environment and shared his experience and zeal to phase out plastic straws from restaurants and eateries across NCR. The session moderator concluded by underlining the need to tackle plastic pollution and urged the industries to take proactiveand voluntary measures to save environment and answering the queries of participants.

          The Third plenary session (post-lunch) was coordinated by EU, which focused on showcasing their commitment towards the environment emphasizing on plastic pollution and its management by sharing their best practices. The welcome address was delivered by Director, MoEF&CC, Shri Manoj Kumar Gangeya, who stressed on partnerships and collaborations among countries and stakeholders to address the global challenge of plastic pollution. He also mentioned about the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

          First Counsellor, Environment, Energy, Climate Change, Delegation of the EU in India Ms. Henriette Faergemann, provided a brief introduction to EU’s plastic strategy. The EU plastics strategyfocusing on transforming the approach of design, its use, production and recycling was also shared. The session included presentation from various speakers from representatives of EU member states and industries on best practices in plastic waste prevention and management. It also covered experiences of countries and other stakeholders on perspectives of policy, governance, technology, finance and public diplomacy through presentations made by Head of Science and Innovation Network in India, British High Commission, Ms. Sarah Mooney; Counsellor for Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, Dr. Teresa Barres Benlloch, Embassy of Spain; Counsellor for Science and Technology, Embassy of Hungary Ms Hilda Farkas; Deputy Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment of Poland,  Ms. Konstancja Piątkowska; Senior Director, TERI Europe/ Director VITO India, Dr Hafeez Rehman; Commercial Economic Counsellor, Embassy of the Czech Republic, Mr. Milan Dostál,; Team Leader, EU Technical Cooperation for Environment in India, Mr. Panagiotis Karamanos; Attaché – Environment & Climate Change, Embassy of France, Maxime DU BOIS; Founder/CEO, BIO-LUTIONS International AG, Hamburg, Germany, Mr. Eduardo Gordillo; Sustainability Head, IKEA Purchasing, Ms. Helene Davidsson, and TERI representative, Mr. Sourabh Manuja.

          The sessions were attended by a range of participants such as policy makers, industries, academia, NGOs, research organizations, representatives from EU and other countries and provided a platform to deliberate/ facilitate experience sharing among various stakeholders. Additionally, many ideas were generated and deliberated during the sessions, which centered on larger contours of possible strategic inputs which will ultimately help the policy makers to scale up such initiatives. Overall, the session helped in:- a) sharing experience between relevant stakeholders involved in the value chain of plastic waste management; b) identification of key enablers for scaling up of plastic waste management initiatives, currently undertaken by industry in partnership with relevant stakeholders; c) emphasized on the importance of on importance of public-private partnership for plastic waste management; d) stressing on the role of Government as a facilitator of waste management models; and e) enrichment of knowledge with regard to global best practices for plastic waste management and alternatives to plastics.

The session was organized by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and European Union (EU). The event was chaired by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Hon’ble Minister of State (EF&CC).  Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were – Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Mr. Durga Shankar Mishra,; Secretary EF&CC, Mr. C.K. Mishra; EU Ambassador to India, Mr Tomasz Kozlowski;  Ambassador, Kingdom of Norway, Mr Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg,; Additional Secretary, MoEFCC, Mr. A. K. Jain and Environment, Climate and Energy Counsellor, EU delegation to India, Ms Henriette Faergemann and Convenor, CII Working Group on Plastic Waste Management and Executive Director-Supply Chain, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Mr Pradeep Banerjee.

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