Plastic has been an affordable, durable and easily available material for both our industrial and household needs since the 19th Century. Therefore, today most of what we look around has either been made of plastic or has employed plastic tools at some point of its production. But, since the majority of plastic materials take centuries to degrade, most of the plastic that our ancestors used back in the 19th or 20th Century is still lying around, while we continue producing more of it on an unparalleled scale. Plastic waste generated in developing countries typically ends up in open unregulated dump site, or is thrown into rivers and streams. The damage inflicted on the environment from just single use plastic has wreaked havoc on the marine life and ecosystem in the past decade.
Everyday approximately 8 million pieces of plastic finds its way into our Oceans. There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. When extracted for recycling or incinerated by the informal sector, they release a combination of greenhouse and toxic gasses in the atmosphere. Burning of plastic or plastic based product is today held overly responsible for the rising temperatures across the globe. According to the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016 (Amended in 2018) a six- month deadline is fixed for producers to arrange for the recovery of waste in partnership with the State Urban Development Department. These rules have been successful in extending the Responsibility of the Producer via EPR laws and systems of filing returns, but the lack of literacy among producers as well as a well-developed mechanism of coordination between the recyclers, pollution control boards and the producers the targets have fallen short of reality until now.