Earth Day 2024: ICRISAT commits to reduced plastic use

Dr Jacqueline Hughes announced that the institution will eliminate all single use plastic items across its campus and minimize the use of any disposable plastic items.

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New Delhi: In recognition of Earth Day 2024, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has taken a noteworthy step towards strengthened environmental stewardship by launching a significant waste and plastic pollution reduction initiative at its headquarters in Hyderabad.
The new thrust was kicked off during an awareness session on 18 April 2024, emphasizing the urgent need for sustainable practices in waste management.
Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT, announced the initiative timed to coincide with Earth Day on April 22. “In a week’s time, we will eliminate all single use plastic items across our campus, and minimize the use of any disposable plastic items. This action underlines our commitment to this year’s Earth Day theme, Planet vs. Plastics,” stated Dr Hughes.
Dr Hughes encouraged the adoption of reusable bottles over single-use plastic ones and highlighted the critical global waste statistics from the recent United Nations Environment Programme Report that pegged global municipal solid waste generation at 2.3 billion tons in 2023, which is predicted to rise to 3.8 billion tons by 2050.
In support of this initiative, Dr Victor Afari-Sefa, Acting Deputy Director General-Research, and Suresh Pillay, General Manager of Farm and Engineering Services and Operations, presented their insights and experiences with waste management strategies, including waste segregation and the 4 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Pillay detailed upcoming changes in the Housing and Food Services department, such as discontinuing single-use plastic bottles and polythene bags, which will be replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives. He also emphasized the correct disposal of materials in Research Fields, such as nets, pegs, labels, selfing covers, gloves, etc.
The awareness session also featured Anusha Yeruva, Manager of Business Development at Saahas Zero Waste, who conducted an in-depth session on the importance of effective waste management and shared a touching video, Mera baba desh chalata hai (My father runs the country), illustrating the unseen heroes of sanitation.
The event, which began with an awareness talk by Dr S Vinaykanth, Senior Manager, Health & Safety – Farm Medical Unit, concluded with an awareness walk led by Dr Hughes, during which ICRISAT staff actively participated in cleaning up any waste items found, symbolizing their commitment to the initiative.