Beyond recycling, towards “zero waste” and the “circular economy” – Shri. V.P. NANDAKUMAR
On 13 January 2017, CII Kerala organised an investors’ meet at Kochi to promote recycling industries in Kerala as part of extended producer responsibility. The event was attended by a galaxy of distinguished speakers drawn from the highest ranks of government, bureaucracy and industry who shared their thoughts about recycling and better waste management. It’s a topic that is very relevant for Kerala where waste management is a burning issue. However, experience tells us that a problem is best tackled when solutions are put in place even before the problem is allowed to manifest itself fully. This is the idea of foresight, and when I look ahead into the future, I feel Kerala has to start doing a lot more than merely encourage recycling projects.
We live in an age where “use and throw” is becoming the norm, even as healthy living spaces are depleting at an alarming pace. What was once an abundance of beautiful green pastures, lush paddy fields, parks and meadows, have all become scarce. In a state that used to pride itself on its cleanliness, we have seen foul garbage piling up on street corners. Who do we hold responsible for this unfortunate state of affairs? Truth be told, we all bear responsibility in some way or the other, having contributed to the degradation if not actively, then at least with our apathy. And so the responsibility falls on us to act now, to change the way we consume, the way we live, and the way we interact with our environment.
A good way to start is with the simple concept of the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. If we cut down on the amount of waste we throw away, that will automatically help in conserving our natural resources, landfill space and energy.