CES: less marine litter in the Indian Ocean

 Quick facts

  • Project: Circular Economy Solutions Preventing Marine Litter in Ecosystems (CES)
  • Grant recipient: German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
  • Location: India
  • Duration: 1 May 2020 to 31 Oct 2023
  • Measures: Implementation of the international obligation to avoid marine litter; organisation of national and international dialogues; tracking and monitoring marine litter; reporting about marine litter; technical support; capacity building; development of a digital communication platform; demonstration of technical solutions for the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastics; support for the national extended producer responsibility (EPR) framework.
  • Funding volume: EUR 5,000,000

Reducing marine litter: what are the specific challenges in India?

India’s coastline to the Indian Ocean is roughly 7,000 km long. For cities with a high population density in particular, effective waste management poses a major challenge. A large proportion of solid waste from legal and illegal landfill sites, as well as plastic waste from the roadside and sewer systems, ends up in the Indian Ocean.

While waste separation at the source has been introduced in many of India’s cities, it is still not yet a widespread practice. Roughly 40 percent of plastic waste generated is not collected at all, since waste collection is generally handled by the informal sector and many single-use plastic products do not have sufficient monetary value for the informal waste collectors. Around 90 percent of economically valuable waste such as PET plastic is recycled, however.

The private sector has increased  its recycling capacities over a relatively short timeframe. In 2019, the import of plastics from other countries was prohibited. Yet India still remains one of the world’s largest producers of plastic and sources of marine litter.

How is the project helping to reduce marine litter?

The ‘Circular Economy Solutions Preventing Marine Litter in Ecosystems’ (CES) project aims to work together with the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to demonstrate technological approaches for the tracking and monitoring of waste in marine ecosystems. In addition, the project will also be developing ways to implement extended producer responsibility (EPR) in order to ensure the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic wastes with the involvement of private-sector actors, such as recyclers and the packaging industry, as well as informal workers in the waste sector.

The project is making a particular effort to involve the informal sector, since the entire system of collection, sorting and processing residential waste depends largely on its work. Millions of informal waste collectors and scrap dealers supply the necessary input to the waste sector by collecting and sorting the waste.

Regular consultations are held with representatives of the private sector to make sure that these actors are given a key role within the burgeoning Indian EPR system. This approach is intended to promote self-managed cooperation as well as the long-term and broad-based exchange of views and experiences.

Representatives from German manufacturing are also being contacted and involved as part of the German RETech Partnership (German Recycling Technologies and Waste Management Partnership e.V.) as well as other initiatives.