The obvious and hidden cost of the plastic planet has deterring harsher and grimmer impacts on lives, livelihoods, and economies. This year’s theme of World Environment Day is #BeatThePlastic. While the urgency of the issue can’t be denied, refurbishing plastic for fostering climate action is a national imperative. IPE Global for the last 25 years has been trying to ensure that environmental sustainability and social protection are complementary to each other. Beating the plastic is intrinsic to India’s net-zero commitments; plastic alone was estimated to contribute more than 850 million tonnes of GHG emissions equivalent to emissions from 200 coal plants. India’s ambitious climate goals demand urgent action on plastic pollution: aligning with Paris Agreement, India targets 33-35% emission reduction by 2030. Tackling plastic waste emerges as a crucial priority to achieve sustainable growth and combat climate change aligned with the aspirational economic leapfrogging.
IPE through its various projects has been trying to suggest, implement and track the ecological social benefits of ensuring environmental sustainability and fostering climate actions through innovations- innovations that are systemic, technological, and financial. When it comes to India’s global thought leadership around environmental sustainability and climate actions, its recent Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) is an additional testament. Under LiFE 7 categories like energy saving and waste reduction, 11 actions were suggested, including prioritising recycled plastic over virgin plastic. While these are good starting points, plastic pollution coupled with climate change impacts is a ticking time bomb, and different urgent and most-urgent actions will only ravage lives and livelihoods more in patterns than waves. Aligning environmental sustainability and climate actions with developmental mandates has been a guiding mantra for us at IPE. Still, it needs to be translated at-scale into action both at regional and local levels across the spectrum of national developmental imperatives.