GAIA Asia Pacific released the Wasted Opportunities: A review of international commitments for reducing plastic and waste-sector GHG emissions in October 2021

The report evaluates the national climate commitments— known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs—made by signatory countries to the Paris Agreement on their goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the waste sector. A total of 99 NDCs were reviewed in this analysis and the report lists missed opportunities for the international community to rigorously address waste sector emissions in the coming years.

India, is not on this review. However a look at the sailent features of India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, states

a) To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
b) To adopt a climate-friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.

Under the section ‘Abetment of Pollution’, the document emphasizes on proper segregation of waste at source; enhancing waste processing, and talks about reducing emissions from waste. Unfortunately though, under the theme, Promoting Waste to Wealth, lists enhancing waste to energy capacity in India, in this same sentence as promoting  encouraging conversion of waste to compost by linking it with sale of fertilizers and providing market development assistance.

The mention of waste to energy is suprising as the definition doesn’t feature in the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. The draft EPR rugulation though defines WTE as ―Waste to Energy means using plastic waste for generation of energy and includes co-processing (e.g. in cement kilns).

But the MNRE scheme provides for Power generation Projects based on Incineration/Gasification/Pyrolysis or a combination thereof or any new technology as approved by MNRE as being eligible for Central Financial Assistance (CFA).

India’s NDC also doesn’t make mention of the informal sector in waste, whose contribution is huge in diverting recyclables from landfills. ( In Gaia’s report only 9 countries out of 99 – Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Liberia, Morocco, Myanmar, Panama acknowledge the informal sector contribution). Plastics also don’t find a mention, though India has now announced ban of certain items under PWM Rules 2021.

Time for new just opportunities to be considered, as and when India revises the official climate pledge.

Read more: