The Union minister for Jal Shakti said proper segregation and recycling is the only solution to the environmental risk posed by plastic waste.
Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on September 25 said India should consider making two-bucket system compulsory for garbage disposal, with one reserved for plastic waste.
Addressing a conclave on 'Circular Economy on Plastic Waste' organised by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch, the Union minister for Jal Shakti said proper segregation and recycling is the only solution to the environmental risk posed by plastic waste.
"The main challenge is segregation of plastic waste at source. Like Australia popularised the concept of the dual-flush system to conserve water, India should make the two-bucket system, with one bucket reserved for plastic waste, compulsory," Shekhawat said.
"In the US, each person uses 120 kg of plastic every year. It is 68 kg in Europe and around 40 kg in China. In India, only 11 kg of plastic is used per person annually. Though our plastic 'consumption' is undoubtedly the lowest, our pollution (due to plastic) is the maximum," he said.
Shekhawat said the reasons were that "we have a huge population and until now, we lacked ways to recycle plastic properly."
The reason why India did not have a way of recycling plastic was the lack of awareness about pollution caused by plastic, he said, adding a massive awareness campaign has been started after the clarion call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Plastic cannot be ignored completely, the Union Minister said while displaying a jacket made of recycled plastic and wool.
He said T-shirts of global sports brands, which are selling in the market for Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000, are made of recycled plastic. The minister also stressed on the importance of involving the intelligentsia, academia and youths to make such awareness campaigns successful.
According to The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India produces over 15,342 tonnes of plastic every day. The country's average per capita consumption of plastic is estimated to increase to 20 kg by 2020, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.Prime Minister Modi, who is leading efforts to scrap single-use plastics by 2022, is likely to announce a ban on a few items on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In his Independence Day speech, Modi had urged people to avoid using plastic bags, and technicians and entrepreneurs to look at innovative ways to recycle plastic.