Plastic Overshoot Day: Taking Action to Address the Serious Issues

Plastic overshoot day calls attention to the serious issues caused by excessive plastic manufacturing, use, and ineffective waste management procedures. Plastic waste pollutes our seas, endangers animals, and jeopardizes human health. Furthermore, additives are used in the manufacture and processing of plastic, which can have negative effects on ecosystems and human health if they seep into the environment owing to poor waste management.

Plastic Overshoot Day acts as a reminder of the importance of systemic solutions to reduce plastic use, strengthen waste management rules, improve infrastructure, and stop the importing of plastic trash from other nations.

The Plastic Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 (PWM Rules) define ‘Plastic’ as any substance containing a high proportion of polymers as an essential constituent. As a result, there are around seven types of most prevalent plastics that are employed, exploited, and consumed in various materials in various ways.

According to the Global Environmental Action (EA) group’s most recent 2023 report, the volume of plastic waste being generated around the world is so great that the world is currently experiencing 157 plastic overshoot days per year, which means that the plastic waste generated in a year exceeds the earth’s carrying capacity for about 157 days.

Moldova is expected to have the greatest per capita quantity of mismanaged plastic garbage in 2023, with 135 kg of plastic mishandled per person.

How can overproduction of plastic and poor waste management procedures lead to plastic pollution?

Plastic pollution is caused by numerous sources, including excessive plastic manufacture. For starters, increased plastic manufacturing results in increased plastic trash output. Because of the increased availability of plastic in the environment, it is more likely to end up as pollution.

Second, poor waste management procedures cause plastic garbage to be mishandled and improperly treated after it has been used. This can happen when there aren’t enough waste treatment facilities or infrastructure to handle the volume of plastic garbage. As a result, plastic garbage may end up in landfills or be inappropriately disposed of, causing contamination in the environment.

How much more plastic garbage is likely to be mishandled and end up in the environment this year?

According to the document fragments given, an extra 68,642,999 tons of plastic garbage will be mishandled this year, resulting in its buildup in the environment.

What are some of the approaches that may be used to prevent plastic pollution?

Reduced plastic consumption, the implementation of robust waste management policies such as extended producer responsibilities (EPR), the enhancement of local waste management infrastructure, and the cessation of imports of plastic waste from other countries are some strategies that can be implemented to combat plastic pollution. Promoting circular economy concepts like repair and reuse programs can also help reduce plastic waste. Adopting measures like as public reporting, corporate accountability, and sponsoring and ratifying international plastic pollution conventions can also assist address the problem.

Most of India’s plastic garbage has not been reported. Furthermore, while the data reveal that the majority of states provided plastic waste generation data from 2018-19 to 2020-21, the data does not reflect the real plastic trash created in India. According to the PWM guidelines, every local authority in both urban and rural areas must record plastic waste created in their particular areas and submit annual reports to the State Pollution Control Boards (SPBs), who in turn send state-level reports to the CPCB.

In summary, excessive plastic manufacturing and insufficient waste management techniques contribute to plastic pollution by increasing the availability of plastic trash, resulting in plastic mismanagement and incorrect disposal, and causing the release of toxic compounds into the environment. To alleviate plastic pollution, these variables underscore the need for systemic solutions to reduce plastic use, enhance waste management infrastructure, and promote responsible waste management regulations.



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