Singapore: Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a Singapore-based-NGO working in the environmental sector, plans to invest between USD 70 million to 100 million in India over the next five years to majorly to reduce plastic waste, according to the top official of the organisation.
Jacob Duer, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the organisation said that India is a very important focus for the Alliance.
“The Alliance has set a target to invest between USD 70-USD 100 million in India over the next 5 years. And we are looking to establish a presence in India by the end of year. But all the dates are in the air now given the COVID-19 situation,” Duer said.
India currently generates around 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, over 10,000 tonnes of which is not collected, said Duer, citing figures from the India Central Pollution Board.
Duer, a former representative of a United Nations Environment Programme team that negotiated and concluded (Minamata Convention on Mercury with the Indian Environment authority in 2017), said the Alliance is already working on a good number of projects with more in the pipeline.
The latest project by the Alliance and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is the Aviral – Reducing Plastic Waste in the Ganga.
The initiative, which was announced on July 28, coinciding with Nature Conservative Day, aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the environment in the northern Indian cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Aviral seeks to pilot an approach to address waste management challenges. In particular, it will focus on strengthening an integrated plastic waste management system, he said.
Following the two-year pilot in the two cities, the partnership aims to scale this initiative across partnering cities in India, he added.
The other big project by the Alliance, in collaboration with the UN-Habitat, is to implement solutions toward a circular economy, creating business and livelihood opportunities while enhancing resource recovery.
Announced July 22, the Alliance-UN Habitat strategic partnership has initiated projects in six cities, including Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore.
The others are Nairobi and Mombasa as well as Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar.
“We will use the UN-Habitat Waste Wise Cities (WWC) Tool to map waste flows and assess potential plastic leakage from waste management systems and identify short- and long-term pathways to increase the amount of plastic waste collected, recycled and recovered,” Duer said.
The programme supports the Alliance’s focus on developing meaningful city projects in high plastic waste leakage communities, and the WWC Challenge to clean up and establish sustainable waste management in 20 cities around the world by 2022.
Among other projects are the Zero Plastic Waste Cities initiative in India and Vietnam, a combined vision of the Alliance and the Grameen Creative Lab, the creative laboratory for social business solutions co-founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammed Yunus.
“This project tackles the plastic issue by improving and supplementing municipal waste management, repurposing collected waste and preventing it from flowing into the ocean. It will develop sustainable social businesses that improve the livelihoods of many while preventing plastic waste from escaping into the environment,” he said.
The two initial cities involved in this project are Puducherry on the southeast coast of India and Tan An in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.
Currently, a feasibility study is being conducted to determine the best option for the plastic waste conversion output, to ensure long-term adoption in each community.
The cities will run pilot programmes to find out which option best serves their needs, he said.
Overall, the Alliance has a USD 500 million budget for environmental projects including the USD 100 million for India. The rest is for South East Asia and China.
But Duer assured that the Alliance, as an independent NGO, is being supported by more funds coming in from multinational corporations including Reliance Industries which have a strong foothold in the regional markets and strong CSR commitment.
He is expecting more multinational corporations to join as members of the already a 50-strong Alliance as it works out more and more environmental projects sanctioned by the regional governments.
“Plastic waste has value,” Duer added, citing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a think-tank in circular economy.
For India, bringing plastic waste back into the supply chain could bring annual benefits of Rs.40 lakh crore in 2050, said Duer quoting from the Foundation study.