CALL FOR DRASTIC REDUCTION IN ONE-TIME USE OF PLASTIC PRODUCTS AND BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES IN PLASTIC USE
GIRD Director Shri Shamsuddeen AK delivering the opening remarks at the Inaugural Session of the Conference.
Shri Chandra Mohan, Senior Scientist and Director of different programmes of the Department of Science and Technology address the Valedictory session of the Conference
Conference participants taking pledge to reduce the use of plastic in future
Report on the National Conference on “Beating the Plastic Hazard: Challenges and Strategies” organized by the Green Institute for Research & Development (GIRD) in association with Department of Environmental Sciences, Delhi Technological University on 4th June 2019 at Senate Hall, Delhi Technological University
On the occasion of the World Environment Day 2018, the Green Institute for Research and Development (GIRD) and the Delhi Technological University (DTU)’s Department of Environmental Sciences held a National Conference on 4th June 2015 at Senate Hall, Delhi Technological University. The Conference, attended by eminent scientists and expert environmentalists and participants from scientific and technological institutes, NGOs, social leaders and industry representatives from from different parts of the country, called for concerted action by the Government as well as non-Governmental organizations and the public in general for drastically reducing the single-use plastic products.
The Conference was held in view of the UN’s adoption of the theme of “beating plastic pollution” for this year’s World Environment Day, the global level programmes for which are official being hosted by India this year. While highlighting the ever growing danger of plastic wastes in India, the participants in the Conference proposed various strategies for the minimization of hazards involved in the use of plastic and its disposal. The disposal of polythene bags and PET bottles, after their single-use, has been identified as the main threat. The Conference proposed various strategies for the minimization of accumulation of plastic wastes. These include the innovative use of waste plastic in energy efficient green buildings and in road construction. Replacing plastic with cheap and recycled paper in the packaging sector has also been suggested. A point was also raised for the multiple use of plastic products in the place of single use.
The Conference was held in four sessions, viz., (1) Inaugural Session, (2) Technical Session – 1, Technical Session – 2, and Valedictory Session.
Dr S. D. Attari, Deputy Director-General, Indian Meteorological Department, was the Chief Guest in the inaugural session. The session started with the lighting of the lamp by the chief guest and other dignitaries of the inaugural session.
Dr Anil Haritash of the Department of Environmental Engineering, DT welcomes the dignities and participants. Shri Shamsuddeen, Director, GIRD in his opening remarks stated the context and objectives of the Conference. He inter alia pointed out that a basic problem in the management of plastic waste is the lack of information to the general public about the need for segregating non-biodegradable wastes from the bio-degradable wastes. Even when the people are informed, there is a lack of willingness to follow the proper procedure. This problem has to be addressed through intensive education and awareness campaigns. He hoped that the deliberations of the Conference will address this issue and give valuable insights for the future programmes of the GIRD in this field.
Dr S. D. Attari, Deputy Director-General, Indian Meteorological Department, the Chief Guest in the inaugural session of the Conference, highlighted the role of mismanagement of plastic wastes in the global warming and climate change.
Prof. S.K. Singh, head of the Department of Environmental Engineering, Delhi Technological University in his address explained the innovative methods adopted by the Delhi Technological University in protecting the environment and saving energy.
Technical Session – 1
This session included an expert presentation by Shri Parama Prakash of the Polygamma plastic Recycling Group, Delhi and four presentations of research studies on various topics relating to management of plastic waste.
Shri Param Prakash of the Polygamma Recyling group in his expert presentation presented the issues involved in the recycling of plastic and stressed on the need for adoption of innovative modern technologies.
Technical Session – 2
Dr. S.K. Dhawan of the National Physical Laboratory presented the case for reuse of waste plastics as roof-top bricks and floor-tiles in the construction sector, and Dr Sangita of Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) presented the successful examples of the use of waste plastic in road construction in different States with clear advantages.
The day-long Conference witnessed presentation of about 16 oral presentations dealing with different aspects of plastic pollution by the faculty and research scholars belonging to different technological institutes and engineering colleges.
Prof. S. K. Garg, pro-Vice Chancellor of Delhi Technological University addressing the Valedictory session stated the hope that the young researchers will one day make a breakthrough in solving the non-biodegrability of plastic. He also opined that any solution proposed for the replacement of plastic need to be economically viable for wider acceptance.
Shri Chandra Mohan, senior scientist who is the head of different scientific programmes in the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), while highlighting the indispensability of plastic in the daily life activities, pointed out that no concrete proposal has been received so far in the Department of Science and Technology for making bio-degradable plastics, and the only available way to avert the plastic menace is self-restriction of the use of plastics. The people instead of asking Governments to impose a ban on plastics need to be more willing to take voluntary action in not using plastic in their daily lives to the maximum extent possible. Shri Vinod Painully, Advisor to ONGC and a Board Member of the APJ Abdul Kalam Foundation stated the need for making awareness about the dangers of plastic wastes to the rural people instead of the present concentration in urban areas as plastic products are increasingly in use in rural areas in India. Shri P.T.John from Kerala stressed the importance of segregation of bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste at the household level and the need for giving the safai karmacharis due recognition and status in the society.
The Conference was attended by 98 registered participants and, additionally, 20 to 25 others. Certificates were given to all the paper presenters. Mementos were provided to expert speakers, chief guest and special guests.
The Conference was commenced at 9.30 AM lasted till 6.30 PM as the participants eagerly engaged in discussions. Shri Shamsuddeen, Director, GIRD, while concluding the Conference with vote of thanks stated that the Green Institute for Research and Development plans to organize intensive educational and awareness campaigns on issues of urban waste management in the coming days including a Delhi Clean Up programme.