President Patil cautions plastic industry for harming environment

February 4th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilNew Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Wednesday urged plastic manufacturers to take adequate measures for waste management, as more than half of the plastic waste is causing harm to the environment.”Plastics are chemically inert by nature, but it’s a question of degradability which has attracted severe criticism on its applications all around,” Patil said after inaugurating the seventh International Plastics Exhibition and Conference, PlastIndia-2009, here Wednesday.

“Their (plastics) non-degradability makes them one of the negatively targeted materials in the eyes of environmentalists,” said the president.

She said plastic wastes, spread all across the country, have caused public ire and also harmed the environment.

“I am told that the Indian plastic industry is gearing up to meet these challenges. I am sure that we will take major strides in research and development like high performance plastics and biodegradable polymers. We need to lay emphasis on using eco-friendly processes and technologies,” Patil emphasised.

An estimated 30 to 40 percent of the plastic waste generated is recycled in India, while the rest of the plastic products are either burnt or dumped in ground, causing damage to the environment.

The president added that the industry should adopt proper recycling technology for effective waste management.

“Plastic waste can be treated as wealth by recycling them into value-added products. There is a need for concerted efforts by the industry and the civil society for bringing awareness about the proper use and disposal of plastic waste,” Patil said.

According to Plastindia Foundation, India’s annual per capita usage of plastic products is as low as 5.5 kg, while it is 25 kg in China. The global per capita usage is 30 kg. North America and West Europe have high per capita consumption between 80 to 100 kg.

The plastic industry, according to the foundation, is expected to grow about 5 percent annually up to 2015, and the industry currently has over 50,000 production units across the country, with a turnover of over Rs.800 billion (Rs.80,000 crore).

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