World Consumer Rights Day - Tackling Plastic Pollution

- PHDCCI and KAS India

World Consumer Rights Day is dedicated to highlight the power of consumers and their rights to a fair, safe and sustainable marketplace. This year, Consumers International has announced that the theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2021 is 'Tackling Plastic Pollution’. PHDCCI along with the India Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organized World Consumer Rights Day on 15th March 2021.

The entire world is currently facing a global plastic pollution crisis. Although plastic can be a highly useful material in everyday life, our consumption and production of plastics have become unsustainable.


Now, it is a critical time for highlighting, addressing and tackling plastic pollution. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the current crisis worse as it has added to the use of single-use plastics including face masks, gloves and food packaging.


79 per cent of the total plastics produced in the world enter our environment as waste. Only 9 per cent of the total plastic waste in the world is recycled. The total annual plastic waste generation in India is almost 3.3 million metric tonnes per year. States like Goa and Delhi produce as much as 60g and 37g per capita per day respectively – against a national average of 8g per capita per day.


The problem of management of plastic use and waste, especially single use plastic, is causing negative environmental consequences in the eco systems, including land, water bodies and air globally while contributing to Climate Change, thus threatening human health. Not only the time has come and gone to look for the best possible solutions that will replace plastic gradually, but it is imperative now to find urgent and sustainable solutions to this huge problem.


To understand the various aspects of environment protection as well as to brainstorm the possible solutions and alternatives to single-use plastic, this programme was organised.


The event witnessed government and industry leaders who are working to provide innovative solutions for plastic as well as the start-ups who are into plastic waste management solutions:

The panel comprised of:

Ms. Leena Nandan, IAS, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, & Public Distribution

Mr. Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative to India, KAS

Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, President, PHDCCI

Prof Bejon Kumar Misra, Chairman- Consumer Affairs & Public Health Committee, PHDCCI

Dr. Shobhit Jain, Executive Director (Compliance Strategy/Training), FSSAI

Mr. Satyendra Kumar, Director, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India

Mr. Shyam Jaju, Chairperson, Global Summit Covid 19

Prof (Dr) N. C. Saha, Former Director-Indian Institute of Packaging & Chairman-Foundation for Innovative Packaging and Sustainability

Mr. Jeevaraj G. Pillai, Joint President - Packaging & New Product Development, UFlex Ltd

Mr. Kartik Kamal Kumar, Director, Electra Koko Tawa Weld Pvt. Ltd

Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary General, PHDCCI

Dr. Yogesh Srivastav, Assistant Secretary General, PHDCCI


Key Takeaways:

- Consumers play a critical role in tackling plastic pollution and promoting sustainable consumption. Consumer is prepared to pay higher price if they are given quality and value product.

- The idea of growth and consumption needs to be changed and it needs to start at the level of the consumers.   

- It’s a myth in the industry that quality of product increases the cost. The quality of the product reduces the price; makes it more competitive and globally acceptable.

- Consumer organizations must work hand in hand with industry and government. Commitments should be made in a collective manner and we need to be accountable and transparent to reduce the plastic pollution.

- The way to reduce plastic pollution is avoiding plastic packaging and using more environment-friendly products, increasing plastic recycling stations, preventing plastics from getting into organic waste and international efforts to clean rivers as well as oceans.

- Plastic is a danger to the environment, so constant innovation, R&D needs to be done in terms of compostable plastic.

- Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) is very proactive, which has defined the quality standards of various packaging materials and classifications and now industry needs to start following the standards.

- We need to have consumer awareness campaigns and dialogues with MSMEs which play pivotal role to contribute towards environment.

- Indian Standards must be made industry specific and more sustainable practices should be promoted and adopted.

- There are three pillars to plastic waste management - lighter packaging, collected waste and un-collected waste. The solution to waste collection is automated waste segregation machines which segregate and collect waste. Uflex Ltd has provided the dynamic solutions which does the automated segregation of all waste and then sent for recycling using technologies which have been developed under the ATMA NIRBHAR BHARAT. 

- Collection of littered plastic waste is not possible, so bio-degradation is the solution to the littered plastic.


Peter Rimmele