The International Day of Zero Waste is observed on March 30 by the UN in recognition and appreciation of zero waste initiatives
The world is facing a growing problem of waste generation. According to UNEP, just 55% of the 2.24 billion tonnes of municipal solid garbage that humanity produces each year is managed in facilities under supervision. This might increase to 3.88 billion tonnes annually by 2050. This massive quantity of waste not only poses a serious threat to the environment, but it also has a sizable impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, primarily methane and carbon dioxide. Methane is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and it is produced during the decomposition of organic waste in landfills. Carbon dioxide is produced during the incineration of waste, which is a common waste management practice in many countries. Moreover, the transportation of waste to landfills and incinerators also contributes to GHG emissions.
In view of the ever mounting waste and rising problems thereof, the United Nations proclaimed 30 March as the International Day of Zero Waste. On December 14 December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognized the importance of zero-waste initiatives, and this year we are celebrating the first International Day of Zero Waste. It has been adopted by 105 nations.
The day is being celebrated worldwide with the help of UN-Habitat and the UN Environment Department. The goal of the International Day of Zero Waste is to encourage environmentally friendly production and consumption practices and to increase public understanding of how zero-waste initiatives advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
931 million tonnes of food is wasted yearly, and by 2040, the ocean is predicted to receive up to 37 million tonnes of plastic waste per year.
According to Statista, India contributes 12 percent of global municipal solid waste generation. The generation of waste in India is anticipated to increase significantly over the next few decades as a result of the country's rising population.
Zero waste initiatives are gaining popularity in India, as more people and businesses recognize the importance of reducing waste and protecting the environment. The Indian government has also taken several measures to promote waste reduction, including the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) and the Plastic Waste Management Rules.
One notable initiative is the zero waste movement in cities like Bangalore, where local residents are working together to reduce waste through composting, recycling, and upcycling. Many apartment complexes and neighbourhoods have set up community composting systems, which not only reduce waste but also produce nutrient-rich compost for gardens and plants. There are businesses offering sustainable goods and many restaurants have also started using biodegradable packaging and compostable utensils.
With waste becoming a gigantic challenge, it is important to recognise and encourage zero-waste initiatives. Zero waste encourages responsible garbage management while also reducing waste. In turn, this reduces pollution, lessens the effects of climate change, protects wildlife, boosts food security, and enhances human health.