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Road To A Plastic Free City: Surat Aims To Produce Diesel Out Of Plastic Waste

In June, the Surat Municipal Corporation installed a plastic waste treatment plant which recycles nearly 5,000 kilos of waste and once the volume is expanded to 1,00,000 kilos, the shredded plastic will be used to produce diesel

Delhi’s Plastic Ban: Authorities Seize 8,000 Kilos Of Plastic Bags In Two Weeks
  • Surat generates 1,50,000 kilos of plastic waste per day
  • Civic body in June inaugurated a plastic waste management plant
  • New plant is currently treating 5,000 kilos of waste plastic

New Delhi: On World Environment Day, when the centre launched a nationwide waste segregation campaign, Gujarat’s economic capital, Surat was one of the first few cities to implement segregation of dry and wet waste at a policy level. From July onwards, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has stopped collecting unsegregated waste from households to help the city reduce its overall waste generation. This move has indeed benefitted the SMC as there is a reduction of plastic waste going to the city’s landfill.

Of the total plastic waste that Surat generates which is 1,50,000 kilos per day, around 40,000-50,000 kilos can be recycled said E.H. Pathan, Executive Engineer, SMC. The civic body has planned to treat the plastic waste in phases where SMC and segregation of plastic trash will be increased at source, “SMC has planned to reduce plastic waste from going to landfills in a phased manner.  Segregation of plastic shall be increased at source. Plastic shall be separately collected from big generators like malls, hotels etc. Plastic will also be separated at the disposal site to prevent it from going to landfill. Capacity of processing plastic shall also be continuously increased to match with collection,” says Mr Pathan.

The civic body in June inaugurated a plastic waste management plant in association with Ecovision Environmental Resources LLP, a private firm, “It is Public Private Partnership (PPP) project, wherein we have provided two acre land on token rent and operator agency has invested approximately 8 Cr in Phase I. Total Operation maintenance and management rests with operating agency,” adds Mr Pathan.

The plant, which is installed at Bhatar near the Gandhi Kutir Bridge, is at present recycling 5,000 kilos of plastic waste.  After recycling it is put back in use for purposes other than food packaging. Gradually in the coming few months the civic body is expected to scale it up and process around 1,00,000 kilos of plastic waste. In Phase II, the SMC aims to convert plastic waste into diesel, “Yes, it is planned in phase II, after checking the due diligence of the technology to convert plastic to diesel,” confirmed Mr Pathan.

At present, rag pickers are deployed by the SMC to collect waste from the entire city. The civic body will soon rope in local volunteering organisations, once private firm will install plastic collection centres in 7 zones of the city and near stores and malls generating huge amount of plastic waste. The SMC is also using some amount of shredded plastic waste for road laying.

Last week, health officials from the SMC had seized plastic bags worth 80 kilos from 230 local shops after they found to be using prohibited plastic bags (under 50 microns). While some shops were fined, around 65 were served notices. Targetting wholesale vegetables, the SMC is also conducting separate campaigns where officials are educating the vegetable vendors about the plastic waste crisis. Bins exclusively to discard plastic bags are installed in these markets.

For Surat, which was ranked as the 4th cleanest city of India in Swachh Survekshan 2017, treating plastic waste isn’t that big an issue as the collection part is, says Mr Pathan, “With SMC passing various waste management guidelines, private firms coming forward and giving technical support, treating city’s plastic waste isn’t a problem. The main challenge lies in collecting the segregated waste and people are the major stakeholders here. We are conducting several rallies and teaching people how to segregate dry and wet waste. People have a huge role to play towards making Surat a plastic free city.”

Also Read: Recycling Plastic In India: Converting Plastic Waste To Fuel, The Unrealised Potential

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