India's inaccurate plastic waste data
Only 14 regional pollution boards have provided partial information. However, 21 of the 35 SPCBs/PCCs have not submitted any information.
India generated just 6,60,788 tonnes of plastic waste between 2017 and 2018. This figure is far from accurate.
According to the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) rules, every State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee (SPCB/PCC) is required to submit a consolidated report on its use and management of plastic waste.
This report is to be forwarded to the to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) along with recommendations by 31 July every year. The CPCB report said, “Only 14 SPCBs/PCCs have submitted partial information after repeated reminders. Remaining SPCBs/PCCs have not submitted information till date.”
This calls for immediate attention as the 2016-2017 report included figures from only 25 regional pollution boards. The total plastic waste generated that year was approximately 1.6 million tonnes.
The report showed that Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya are transporting their plastic waste to cement plants for co-processing. Additionally, Orissa and Nagaland are using their plastic waste for polymer bitumen road construction.
States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu that have imposed a complete ban on the use and sale of plastic carry bags have been unsuccessful in their initiatives. Plastic bags are stocked, sold and widely used.
The PWM rules of 2016 were amended in 2018. According to the amendment, substandard carry bags—plastic carry bags that are less than 50 microns—must not be manufactured, sold, or used in states. Unfortunately, the report showed that the majority of the states have not followed this amendment.
Recycling has seen no improvement. The number of unregistered recycling units is 383. But this number is likely to be higher if all 35 states were included in the report.