India’s leading conglomerate group, Reliance Industries Ltd. (Reliance) plans to launch an eco-friendly project which would use plastic waste in road construction of the country. India, a country of nearly 1.3 billion population, is one of the major polluted nations in the world and major cities of the country have been plagued by smog and litter.
Reliance’s Project Aims to Fight Pollution
The eco-friendly project of India’s largest petrochemical company was announced on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, during a product launch event of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance. Recently at the 2020 annual meeting of World Economic Forum at Davos, many environment activities especially Greta Thunberg spoke about the imminent threat that climate change posed to humankind and asserted pressure to the world’s leaders to speed up in handling the problems associated with the climate change.
The announcement of the project was a part of Ambani’s efforts to fulfill the vision of the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his administration for prohibiting the single-use plastics by 2022. An executive at Reliance described on Tuesday that the company’s new project aimed at a larger cause for fighting pollution of the country and was not restricted only to the controlling of plastic waste.
As per Reuters’ report, India releases about 14 million tons of plastic waste annually and the country has been facing a challenge of widespread littering across the cities due to the lack of organized management systems for recycling plastic waste.
According to a study by two groups monitoring air pollution which was reported by Reuters, “India was home to 15 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world in 2018.” New Delhi is the world’s most polluted capital city because of which several governmental services including schools and flights got canceled often and also caused several health problems for over 20 million people.
An Executive Claims a ‘Philanthropic’ Action
Citing Ambani’s projects as a philanthropic endeavor, the COO of the Reliance petrochemicals business, Vipul Shah said, “(This) can be a game-changing project both for our environment and our roads. The new-age environmental evil of plastic waste can be turned into a cost-effective, durable and sustainable application in road construction.”
As Reuters reported, “Light plastics, the type used as carrying bags or snack wrappers, are typically not viable to recycle and so end up in landfills, street corners or oceans. Reliance wants to shred these plastics and mix them with bitumen, a formula the conglomerate says is cheaper and longer-lasting.”
To execute the projects, Reliance Group is planning to work with India’s highway authority and would urge some potential state governments to supply a plastics-infused mix to make some of the thousands of kilometers of roads. Business Line owned by The Hindu newspaper described, “Over 40 kilometers of roads in and around the RIL Nagothane Manufacturing Division have been resurfaced using plastic waste. This is a part of their sustainability and circularity initiative to manage and use plastic waste.”
According to Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, “Corporates and industries are a big source of all kinds of pollution in India, so much more serious thoughts, policies and actions are required from them.” He added referring to Reliance’s new projects, “It is happening internationally and now has started percolating to India too, though it’s at a very early stage.”
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