Yes, what you had read is true, only 1 in 5 Plastic bottles are recycled.
Wherever we see, there is a bit of plastic whether it is a wallet, on our eating tables and or in kitchens, in our cars and buses and at offices. We are so used to fit that it is nearly impossible to imagine a life without plastics.
From the beginning of plastic in 1950, plastic production has increased drastically from 2 million tonnes to 380 million tonnes in the year 2015. In the over 70 years, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced. Can you imagine! Out of 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced so far, 6.3 billion tonnes have been discarded and each year, nearly 13 million tonnes of plastic waste is thrown to oceans. And the funniest part is plastics do not decompose.
As per Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, “A plastic bottle takes between 450-1000 years to decompose.” Do You know! “Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles and 5 trillion plastic bags are purchased every minute.“
“We enjoy the convenience of plastic bags but must also take note of the havoc it causes to the environment. The destruction of ocean ecosystems, threat to lives of cattle and pollution of public spaces must be stopped,” says Anirban Ghosh, chief sustainability officer, Mahindra Group.
In India, 80% of total plastic consumption is discarded as waste in which 40% of this waste is uncollected and official statistics say the country generates approx. 25, 940 tonnes of plastic waste daily.
Plastic bottles, jars, and containers, also contribute in the list of plastic and known as rigid packaging, find their way into the reusing and recycling economy through an informal chain of rag pickers and kabaadi wallahs. But other single-use plastics such as bags, candy wrappers, tobacco, and pan masala sachets, soap wrappers and shampoo sachets are too difficult to collect and find their way into landfills, garbage dumps, or simply remain uncollected on roadsides.
Apart from all this, the Indian plastic industry is among the fastest growing ones. In 2017 knowledge paper by FICCI, a business and industry lobby, Indian plastic processing industry saw compounded annual growth rate of 10% between 2010 to 2015. Plastic consumption is expected to increase from 12 million tonnes to 20 million tonnes by 2020 annually.
There has been an effort going on to an alternative use for plastic waste such as the use of 10 to 15% of plastics in road construction. But mainly, Recycling, reuse, or alternative use of plastic waste can help reduce the amount of virgin plastic produced.
However, this is not enough to save the planet’s from a plastic pollution problem. That would require a drastic reduction in the use of single-use plastic products.