Plastic has reached the deepest point of earth i. e. Mariana Trench, plastic pollution affected our earth to this depth, plastic can’t be used for composting, can’t be degraded, are non biodegradable, is most dangerous waste, causes choking if stuck in pipes and deaths of stray animals if consumed. It also causes economic damage of $13 Billion to marine ecosystems every year and government also spends additional funds for cleaning the localities. Problem is so serious that even international conferences are held to adress plastic issues. But besides all these, plastics have brighter side to them where innovation and technology seeps in to show the different picture of plastic world. Plastic waste can be turned into a socio- economic resource if we resolve to work in an solution oriented approach like Mr. Ahmed Khan. Mr. Khan changed the definition of plastic waste when he discovered POLYBLEND.Polyblend is a fine powder of recycled modified plastic and when this powder mixed with bitumen is used in road construction, it increases the road durability by four times and makes it water repellant as well. More than forty kilometers of road in Bengaluru has already been laid. Not only the roads but this idea implementation has also provided higher plastic price rates to ragpickers. Here, plastic has proven to provide multipronged benefits. Lesser known fact about the plastic is that it creates less environmental burden compared to jute and paper, where plastic production generates 60-79% less green house gases than paper and consumes 91% less energy than jute production. Here plastic is a better alternative where thousands of trees are cut down for paper manufacture and lots of water is used for jute production.
Every coins has two sides where India generates 2600 tonnes of plastic every day seems to be a very serious issue but the positive side is India Plastic Recycling Industry gives employment and business opportunities to many families. Its turnover is ₹15000 cores, volume of plastic recycled is 2.6Million tonnes and no. of units are 10,000. Total employment about 3.5 Million, ragpickers about 1.5 Million. The above mentioned cycle is an innovation in itself which reduces waste and boosts economy alongside. Not only this, when polyblend is used to lay down roads, it prevents road crackening caused by fish carrying, meat, poultry and other wet food carriages where governments have to allocate extra funds for reconstruction of roads. Money saved here can be productively used elsewhere for betterment od people .Plastics are termed as major non-biodegradable wastes but even tin, aluminium, glasses are also non-biodegradable but they are used productively and cautiously whereas plastic is treated as waste even when it has numerous beneficial properties like light weight, water proof nature, resistance to bacterial and microbial growth and unlike metals,it doesn’t get affected by rust and similar chemical problems. The problem lies in our perception that “plastic is a waste”. As our country steps up efforts to CLEAN INDIA, new initiatives for plastic waste reuse are required. However, the concern there is the plastic waste that remains uncollected,most of this is single use low value which are not attractive to plastic waste collectors. These eventually reach either landfills or streams and rivers finally reaching coastal waters. One way to tackle this is to incentivise collection of single use, low value plastics by waste collection to improve collection rates and ensure that if these palstics cannot be recycled, they can either be processed from waste to energy including pyrolysis or by processing them in cement kilns as alternate fuel. This action will not only have a national impact, but also an international influence for regulators to adress the issue of marine liter where plastics are major contributors. Name of Anthill Creations can’t be ignored when talking about plastic age. This organization has successfully made libraries and playgrounds in four Indian cities by reusing 830 scrap tyres. Since, it’s formation in 2014,company successfully finished nine projects. Another innovation comes from Rushabh Chandel who worked on plastic project where cement-plastic interlocking bricks were made, that are 3 times more earthquake resistant, 2 times more fire resistant and water resistant than normal bricks. These different startups are proving to be an eye opener for people around the world. It is clear that plastic is no more a problem if waste collection and recycling mechanism are properly devised. It is visible that plastic production~recyclation~utilization can inject money into our economy by providing employment to small unskilled workers which makes up a better society where small and big hands merge together to earn and eliminate waste which are key factors in making Atmanirbhar and Swachh Bharat. Plastic is not a waste but an ignored potential resource, hence it is in our hands whether we let it remain as a waste or transform it into a wealth.