National Convention on “Elimination of Single Use Plastics (SUPs): Possibilities and Opportunities for New India”

National Convention on “Elimination of Single Use Plastics (SUPs): Possibilities and Opportunities for New India”

Organization: Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini

Event Duration: 18 Jan. 2020 - 19 Jan. 2020

Apply By: 15 Jan 2020

Title: National Convention on “Elimination of Single Use Plastics (SUPs): Possibilities and Opportunities for New India”

About RMP:

Established in 1982, RMP is a unique Training and Research Academy, primarily aimed at enhancing the capabilities of voluntary activists and elected representatives of the people. RMP has an excellent state-of-the-art training facility spread over 15 acres of land on the outskirts of Mumbai, known as Knowledge Excellence Centre (KEC). RMP-KEC will be the host campus for the PGP course being conducted by IIDL.

Of all the challenges that humanity faces today, one of the greatest, and possibly the gravest, is overcoming the crisis of leadership. It is due to this crisis that we are plagued with the pressing concern for a prospering present and a promising future. There is today, undoubtedly, a serious dearth of leadership. And this is not only reflected in the contemporary political scene, but is experienced practically in every aspect of life, whether its business, academics, culture, literature, social service or sports. We need capable leaders who lead from the front and, collectively, are willing to guide humanity into a better tomorrow.

RMP has a diverse and rich experience of 38 years of bestowing capacity building and leadership training to elected representatives, grass root volunteers as well as government and non-government workers. The institute also provides functional and leadership training to police officers, trustees, principals and non-academic staff of educational institutions. In addition to imparting training, RMP has also been active in executing research projects concerning socially pertinent issues including those of the bacward classes and rural communities.

About the Convention:

In continuation with the mandate of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has committed to phase out single use plastics (SUPs) by 2022. Ever since plastic was invented by John W Hyatt in 1869, it has been an integral part of our modern lives. The flexibility, lightness and durability of plastics have added to the convenience of mankind and therefore have entered into various spaces of our lives. From using a plastic toothbrush, drinking water from a plastic bottle to using a plastic bag for multiple purposes, the use of plastic has become ubiquitous. At the same time, the pervasive use of plastics has resulted in one of the greatest environmental, health, social and economic challenges worldwide.

SUPs refer to plastics which are used just once, as in disposable packaging such as bottles, grocery bags, plates, cutlery, and straws. According to the United Nations, any plastic made out from polymers of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polyethylene Terephtalate (PET), Polystyrene (PS), Polycarbonate, Polypropylene (PP), and Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is SUPs. The elimination of SUPs has become a worldwide campaign as its large and growing volume adds enormously to the total plastic waste. Governments around the world are increasingly working to scale up efforts to address plastic pollution. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) more than 60 countries have introduced bans and levies to curb single-use plastic waste. It also estimated that one to 5 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. Five trillion is almost 10 million plastic bags per minute.

India produces about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily. Out of this about 9,000 tonnes is recycled. The remaining plastic is either burnt leading to air pollution or ends up in landfills or clogs drains, resulting in social concerns for the municipal administration and citizens in different parts of the country. A FICCI study estimates that 43 per cent of India’s plastic is used in packaging and much of it is SUPs. Taking environmental impacts into consideration, imposing a ban on SUPs, combined with the adoption of better waste management models like the segregation of wastes or proper division of wastes, can go a long way in achieving the targeted goals in different parts of the country.

To address the growing concerns, there are certain initiatives, offering pragmatic solutions, which have been undertaken by the government. For instance, taking cognizance of the available technology, the government has started using plastic to build roads which will not only withstand future monsoon damage but also solve the problem of disposing of non-recyclable plastic. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) such roads are durable against extreme weather conditions, cost effective and pothole resistant. With one tonne of plastic, one kilometer of road can be made. More than one lakh kilometers of roads have already been constructed in India using plastic waste in at least 11 states, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh among others.

Besides, a growing number of governments at the state and local levels are also taking actions to address the challenge of SUPs through imposition of bans. In this direction, several states such as Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Delhi and West Bengal among others have introduced bans on the manufacturing, production, distribution, use and storage of plastic carrier bags and other plastic materials.

Many success stories can be drawn from these different states of India that can provide meaningful lessons for addressing the challenge in an effective manner. Learning from the experience of different states across India as well as countries across the globe that have introduced bans and regulations on SUPs can help formulate deliverable action-plans and drive innovation. Addressing the irreparable environmental impact of SUPs as well as effective delivery of the Indian government’s initiative to phase out SUPs would require governments at both national and state level to regulate the use of SUPs, businesses to innovate and individuals to act.

SUPs have become a national challenge, a matter of academic discourse and policy deliberation. Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) has set a tradition to address contemporary societal, policy, political and governance challenges through research, dissemination and awareness by organizing various workshops and seminars on such pertinent issues. In continuation with earlier National Conventions, this year RMP’s National Convention would be themed around “Elimination of Single Use Plastics (SUPs): Possibilities and Opportunities for New India”.

The main aim of the National Convention is to deliberate on some pertinent questions: What are the initiatives at national and state levels to eliminate the use of SUPs? What have the governments (central & state), businesses and individuals achieved at national and state levels to curb the consumption of SUPs? What are the lessons that these practices offer for policymakers who are considering regulating the production and use of SUPs? What are the measures that the government need to undertake to improve waste management practices? What are the nature of financial incentives that the government needs to introduce to change the habits of consumers, retailers and manufacturers? What is the extent of finance that government would require to invest in research and development of alternative materials, raise awareness among people and fund innovation? What impact will the preferred course of action have on different sectors and industries?

Themes to be discussed at the Convention

With this objective in mind, research papers, policy anecdotes and successful case-studies are invited for wider policy dialogue during the National Convention. The papers can be prepared and submitted on any of the following sub-themes:

  • The Plastic Problem: Effects on Environment, Health and Civic Management
  • Achieving Plastics (SUPs) Free India through alternatives to Plastic
  • The other side of the Plastic Story: Effect on Industry and Jobs
  • Successful Case studies from Public, Private, Industrial, Civil Society Sector
  • Roadmap to SUP Free India: Role of Society, Government, Industry

Who can Participate

The National Convention presents an opportunity for all stakeholders across the different sectors and arena working on issues of Single-Use-Plastic(SUPs), to come together and enter into dialogues to arrive at solutions to phase out SUPs. The convention expects participation from all the individuals and organizations who are deeply engaged in answering the germane questions on current status of SUPs, on their impact, policy solutions, on-ground implementation and the innovations to counter the issue at hand.

The National Convention invites participation from the following stakeholders working on phasing out of SUPs, such as:

  • Scientists and academicians
  • Government stakeholders across all levels
  • Educational institutes
  • Think tanks and civil society members
  • Private sector representatives and industry leads
  • Start-ups
  • Non-government organizations(NGOs)
  • Students

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