Many states in India, like Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are taking serious steps to curb the menace of plastic pollution. In fact, while Tamil Nadu has proposed a formal plastic ban in January 2019, the ban has already been informally implemented in several places. Read our story here to find out more.
But even as we dispose of our plastic bags, and purchase cloth bags instead, certain plastic materials seem unavoidable. Take plastic bottles and wrappers for instance. How do you buy chips and soft drinks without the plastic containers they come in? Giving them up collectively is a far-fetched, impossible suggestion.
Who then, will be responsible for this plastic waste?
S Parthasarathy, the Municipal Commissioner of Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu issued a notice to a beverage multinational corporation (MNC) asking them to take charge of the plastic mess they are responsible for.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, Parthasarathy said, “According to the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules 2016, companies like PepsiCo should collect back the plastic waste being generated by its brand items by itself or assign some party to do so.”
The companies, of course, are required to pay for these services. But they can come up with ways to collect the plastic bottles, wrappers or other packaging items themselves.
Take a shampoo brand for example. “A few years ago, a shampoo manufacturing company had offered a shampoo packet for every ten empty packets that the consumers returned,” Parthasarathy said.
Taking a firm stand against the plastic waste created by MNCs, the commissioner’s letter stated,
“Our town is polluted by the waste generated by your brand items. It is your duty to dispose of your brand waste without causing damage to the environment as per government rules.
I direct you to submit your action plan regarding the disposal methods of waste generated by your products in 15 days. If you fail to comply to this notice, we will initiate action against your products.”
The MNC took no time to respond to this warning, understanding the environmental cost that comes with every bottle they sell, which ends up in a landfill, forest or water body.
An official from the MNC told the New Indian Express that they have “filed [a] registration with CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) on June 29. We wish to state that as part of our extended producers’ responsibility, we will commence collecting waste back in Tamil Nadu.”
Soon, each bottle that the MNC sells will be collected by them and hopefully will either be recycled or upcycled, so they are no more a threat to the environment. If more companies like this one take responsibility for their carbon footprint, making efforts to recycle their plastic waste, maybe we will soon see a greener and cleaner India.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)