Tackling Plastic Pollution-An Event by CUTS on the Occasion of World Consumer Rights Day

Jaipur, March 15, 2021

15 March is World Consumer Rights Day, an annual occasion for celebration, impact and global solidarity within the international consumer movement. Welcoming the participants and the speakers, Deepak Saxena, Assistant Director, CUTS International said that each year, consumer organisations mark the day by joining together to highlight and raise awareness of an issue that is important to consumers around the world. World Consumer Rights Day is our opportunity to have the biggest impact possible. Working together, our voices calling for change are far more powerful than they would be alone. Saxena said that this day is being commemorated by around 240 organisations in 209 countries and each year, it is focussed on a dedicated theme. This year, the theme is ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution’.

In his opening remarks, George Cheriyan, Director, highlighted on the theme and said that plastic is a highly useful material in our everyday lives, but our consumption and production of plastics, especially single-use plastic, have become unsustainable leading to a global plastic pollution crisis. This is impacting our ecosystems, causing negative environmental consequences, including pollution of the local and international environment and threatening human health. He said that plastic is produced more than any other human-made material, except cement and steel. The total plastic production in 2015 was 380 million tonnes. Out of the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced so far, only 9% is recycled, 12% incinerated, and the remaining 79% was discarded in landfills or dumped in open spaces. Every year the world uses 500 billion plastic bags. Plastic bottles are the biggest contributor in waste piling up as 1 million bottles are bought every minute throughout the world. 50 percent of the plastic, we use is single-use or disposable. As per Central Pollution Control Board (2015), an average of 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day by the tier-I and tier-II cities in India.

Cheriyan further elaborated that tackling plastic pollution is a global challenge, which requires coordinated, international solutions. As a global consumer movement, we can play a critical role in tackling this issue and promoting the sustainable consumption and production of plastics.

Encouraging consumers to consume fewer and better materials is vital, as well as ensuring the proper infrastructure and choice is in place to support them. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fishes. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year. Single-use plastics account for 50 percent of the plastic produced every year. Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years. In a run to World Consumer Rights Day celebration, CUTS also earmarked this day as the State Level Stakeholder’s consultation of its ongoing project ProOrganic in ten districts of Rajasthan. On this occasion, Rajdeep Pareek, Program Officer, CUTS presented 2020-21 year’s activities with key highlights and major outcome and recommendations.

Dr A S Baloda, Director, Rajasthan Agriculture Research Institute reiterated on the need of constant campaign on organic farming and not only farmers but consumers too should understand its importance on a longer run. Only joint effort can make this organic movement successful. Shri Shailendra Chouhan, AGM, NABARD appreciated CUTS efforts and shared some interesting facts about CUTS’ work on FPOs supported by NABARD. Padma Shree Awardee Shri Jagdish Pareek made his presence felt by narrating some important tips on organic farming in his simple style and language. Bringing down his vast experience in organic farming, he elaborated different methods of doing organic farming. Popularly known by ‘Cauliflower Man’, Jagdish Pareek stole the show through his ‘Green House’ model innovated by himself. Ms Deepika Saini, Quality Manager, Rajasthan State Organic Certification Agency provided tips to participating farmers on the process of organic certification. On the occasion, CUTS honoured some organic farmers, who switched from chemical to organic through its efforts.
Rajdeep Pareek gave vote of thanks and Nmisha Sharma moderated the whole event.

For further information, please contact:
Rajdeep Pareek (94616 70755)/Dharmendra Chaturvedi (94142 02868)
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training
D- 2018, Bhaskar Marg, Banipark, Jaipur- 302016
PH.: 5133259/ 2282821/2282482 ; Fax: 4015395
Email: rdp@cuts.org ; dc@cuts.org