National Colloquium: A collaborative approach to mitigate plastic pollution.

Jun 06, 2023

Kathmandu, Nepal - June 6th, 2023 - CREASION, Nepal Polymer Institute, and Plast Nepal Foundation successfully organized the National Plastic Colloquium on June 6th, 2023, at Hotel Yak and Yeti, Durbarmarg, Kathmandu. The colloquium served as an interactive platform to address the pressing issue of plastic recycling under the impactful campaign #BeatPlasticPollution#. The event witnessed the participation of more than 100 distinguished individuals, including government authorities, local bodies, international delegates, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, recyclers, policymakers, experts, academicians, and students.

The objective of the National Plastic Colloquium was to foster environmentally and socially sustainable practices within the plastic circular economy, combatting plastic pollution and its far-reaching effects. The event aimed to identify current challenges in plastic recycling, highlight optimal methods for plastic usage and disposal, and raise awareness among policymakers. With the participation of diverse stakeholders such as manufacturers, consumers, recyclers, waste management organizations, civil society organizations, municipalities, policymakers, governmental agencies, academia, and other sectors, the colloquium served as a platform for productive dialogue and collaboration. The colloquium strongly aligns with the goal of the second Nationally Determined Contributions, which aims to achieve Zero Net Carbon Emissions by 2045. The then Prime Minister pledged to implement recycling initiatives in at least 100 municipalities by 2030, marking a significant step toward sustainability. Furthermore, this colloquium is in line with the recently signed UNEA 5.2 Plastic Treaty, through which Nepal commits to addressing the life cycle of plastic by forming a legally binding agreement.

The event commenced with an engaging exhibition showcasing a wide array of innovative recycled products. Dr. Jyoti Giri, in her warm welcome remarks, expressed gratitude to all participants for their commitment to combating plastic pollution. The event started with the acknowledgment of the presence of all dignitaries. The program started with a captivating poem on plastic waste management recited by Mr. Bryan Hitan, setting the stage for informative presentations by esteemed speakers. The poem was followed by remarks by Mr. Deepak Shrestha, President of Plast Nepal Foundation, emphasizing the importance of collective action in finding sustainable solutions to the plastic crisis and removing the stereotypical view of plastics as negative components.

The event commenced with opening remarks, followed by a speech from the chief guest, Hon'ble Minister Dr. Birendra Prasad Mahato, from the Ministry of Forest and Environment. The Hon'ble Minister expressed his delight at being a part of such a significant platform and emphasized the need for all sectors to unite in combating plastic pollution and developing innovative solutions. He stressed the importance of collaboration between researchers, enterprises, and government officials to initiate a discourse on Plastic Pollution.

After the minister's speech, Prof. Dr. Rameshwar Adhikari delivered a presentation titled "The Partnership between Plastics Industries and Academia for Nepal's Development." The presentation shed light on the significance of addressing plastic pollution and highlighted the pervasive presence of plastic in various aspects of our lives. Dr. Adhikari also discussed plastic waste management and presented data showing that 48% of plastics end up in landfills, 32% are burned, and 27% are dumped in rivers. He concluded by emphasizing the need to use plastic responsibly, encouraging all departments and sectors to come together to tackle the issue, and urging individuals to make small changes in their daily lives.

The second presentation was given by Ms. Sujata Koirala, the General Secretary of CREASION. Ms. Koirala delivered an engaging talk on the plastic waste scenario in Nepal, the flow of waste within the country, and the characterization of plastic waste. She also discussed the existing policies and laws related to plastic recycling, highlighting the Fifteenth Plan of Nepal (2019/20-23/24), Plastic Ban Regulation and Control Directives of 2022, and the UNEA 5.2 Plastic Treaty. Ms. Koirala presented on CREASION's efforts in plastic waste recycling and identified challenges such as the failure of segregation at the source, lack of incorporation of the informal sector and informal commercial practices, insufficient prioritization and policy implementation at different levels in the country, and the cost-effectiveness of virgin plastics. She urged the government officials present to address these issues and emphasized the need for additional laws related to plastic recycling.

Lastly, Ms. Sunaina Maharjan, a representative of the Plast Nepal Foundation, presented on the foundation's role in plastic waste management over the years. She highlighted the foundation's activities, including workshops on sustainable solutions, international exhibitions showcasing plastic waste management, recycling initiatives, awareness programs for students, and plantation campaigns. Ms. Maharjan concluded her presentation by showcasing products made from recycled plastics in Nepal, highlighting the positive outcomes of their efforts.

The presentations were followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Jyoti Giri, which allowed esteemed panelists, a Representative from Plastic Industry Mr. Deepak Shrestha, a Representative from Nepal Bureau of Standard, Jyoti Joshi Bhakta, a Representative from the Environment Department, Shankar Paudel, Spokesperson, Representative from KMC: Ms.Sanu Maya, Representative from Recyclers, Binod Uprety to share their expertise and perspectives on plastic pollution. The engaging session was followed by an open-floor question and answer segment, providing attendees with the opportunity to interact directly with the panelists and gain further insights.

A special remark was provided by Prof. Dr. Nawaraj Khatiwada, who highlighted the government's efforts in tackling plastic pollution and the significance of events like the National Plastic Colloquium. He also summarized the entire event and urged everyone to shift towards practical solutions to beat plastic pollution.

The event concluded with a closing session and remarks delivered by Mr. Anand Mishra, Founder and President of CREASION. In his closing statement, Mr. Mishra emphasized the importance of collective efforts and urged all participants to take concrete actions to combat plastic pollution. The colloquium concluded with a networking session, fostering meaningful connections and collaborations, followed by a delightful dinner.

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