Development Alternatives

Development Alternatives (DA) hosted the 26th “trialogue 2047” throwing light on the urgent need to integrate Circular Economy principles and Resource Efficiency into urban governance. The “trialogue2047” brought together key stakeholders of the sector on one platform. Shri G Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga was the keynote speaker of the event; Dr. Lakshmi Raghupathy, Former Director, MoEF&CC, Government of India and Visiting Faculty, TERI School of Advanced Sciences; Mr Prabhjot Sodhi – Senior Program Director (Circular Economy), Centre for Environment Education; Ms. Paramita Dey, Head, Resources and Waste, National Institute of Urban Affairs were the esteemed guests who held the thought-provoking discussions on Plastics and possible solutions.

The discussion reached a consensus that the best way forward is to bring change/ discipline at a personal level to adopt circularity. This is an effective way to shape a Sustainable Environment while envisioning cities of the future. Circularity is also vital in cities for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11). Circular practices in the cities, aligned with Climate Action (SDG 13) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, underscore the importance of Circular Economy in fostering an eco-friendly and inclusive world in line with the SDGs.Over the last few years, India has taken positive steps in prioritizing circularity and resource efficiency, shaping a sustainable development agenda for a greener and more resilient future.

Mr G Asok Kumar, Director General, of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), in his keynote address, emphasized on the importance of circularity in daily life with examples from the “Catch the Rain’ campaign and the need for management of waste that flows into our river and pollutes the. He introduced the concept of the 5th ’ R’ which is ‘Respect’ for water, which is the lifeline of cities. Circularity is only possible with people’s participation and better utilization of resources are needed.

The discussion around the LiFE- ‘lifestyles for the environment’ lays the foundation for imbibing and promoting circularity in our life by emphasizing eco-conscious choices and responsible consumption. Through LiFE, not only India leads the way to sustainability by promoting environmental stewardship, emphasizing the importance of conserving resources, reducing waste, and safeguarding diverse ecosystems for a more sustainable future but also focuses on circularity for action to make a difference in the lifestyle of individuals and communities.

The trialogue focussed on the need for capacity development of ULBs and behavior change in plastic value chain stakeholders to enable system transformation for effective plastic waste management at city level. This involves raising awareness through education about the adverse impact of mishandled plastic waste. Additionally, the need for enabling citizen-led initiatives focusing on reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic waste was thoroughly discussed. The discussion also explored ways in which the informal sector can be integrated into the municipal waste system for social and economic benefits, and overall sustainable practices of the city. By fostering such initiatives, communities attain a sense of ownership and will display active participation in mitigating the adverse environmental impacts of plastic pollution.

Resource efficiency and circularity are pillars for shaping a sustainable environment while envisioning cities of the future. Circularity is also vital in cities for achieving Sustainable Development Goals, such as Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11). Reducing greenhouse gas emissions embodies the importance that Circular Economy has in fostering an eco-friendly and inclusive world by aligning itself with the SDG 13 Goal (Climate Action).

Dr Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives, stated “Resource efficiency and circularity are the environmental pillars without which our cities can never hope to be truly sustainable. Adopting circular economy principles ensures that resources are streamed back into the economic loop, significantly reducing the stress on our virgin resources. Our national policies and city governments must work with the integral participation of communities and businesses to transform the very systems by which their infrastructure, housing, transport, utilities, and waste management are designed, implemented, and managed. Only thus can we hope to bring about the effective synergies needed between sectors such as transportation and livelihoods or between sub-sectors such as plastics and demolition wastes.”

Rita Dhodapkar, Science Secretary and Principal Technical Officer at CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, “The manifest of collection, sorting, and processing of post-consumer & post-industrial plastic waste (PW) enables and accelerates the transition to a circular economy for plastics. Development in advanced Recycling infrastructure, innovations in manufacturing, creation of new materials, design, and recycling technologies are the pillars of circularity meeting the goals of SDG 12.”

Dr Heinz Schandl, Senior Principal Scientist, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia, “A national, coordinated approach is important as we are dealing with a complex problem of plastic waste. We must integrate regional solutions into a national framework and encourage the research and startup community to collectively come up with solutions that can be scaled up to help solve the problem of plastic waste in India, Australia, and even globally.”