Gujarat is one of India’s fastest growing states with petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the forefront of major industries. Growth has resulted in job creation and prosperity, but also risks to human health and safety, through pollution brought about mishandling of hazardous chemicals. For a sustainable future, the state and its SMEs require safe, secure and environmentally sustainable development by implementing a responsible production approach in Gujarat.
SECURE Gujarat is a public-private partnership programme, established by DEG, UL-DQS India and ASSIST that aimed to initiate a switch to a Responsible Production framework and build capacity for target SMEs. Using UNEP’s Responsible Production approach, the project provided SMEs with the necessary tools to engage businesses, supply-chains, distributors, traders and buyers in accident prevention and emergency preparedness. The focus was to increase overall chemical safety and consequently reduce environmental impact in the operations of SMEs.
A clear demand for Responsible Production was identified in the chemical industries operating in Gujarat, and through the project, immense value was generated for companies. 395 key representatives from the chemical industries across two states participated in the CEO forums, and 64 professionals trained to become experts in Responsible Production implementation. Moreover, 8 organizations were provided with technical assistance to successfully implement Responsible Production, with 500 self-assessment toolkits distributed to local trainers, professionals, and organizations.
Tourism and agro-based industries are important sectors in Nepal and Bhutan as they contribute significantly to their GDP, employment generation, and foreign exchange earnings. However, the rise in tourism has put extra pressure on developing additional infrastructure and has contributed directly to environmental degradation, waste generation, and environmental pollution.
The project SEID is designed to directly address several issues faced by both tourism and agro-based industries of Nepal and Bhutan, by emphasising on optimisation of energy and water usage; environmental protection through proper waste and chemical management and judicial use of resources. In addition to this, the project also provided support for the development and enhancement of a framework for sustainable tourism in the two countries. The ultimate aim of the project (in addition to the benefits of sustainability that they would get) was to help the target industries and regions maximise their economic profits, enhance their foreign exchange dealing potential, optimise their resource use and new job creation.
Key interventions from ASSIST included training of trainers on responsible consumption and production; delivering awareness campaigns on resource efficiency and technical assessment / consulting support to 200 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); showcasing appropriate technologies promoting sustainability and developing linkages with academic institutions, facilitating Focus Group Discussions and creating Green Clubs and execution of awareness campaigns such as inter-school competitions.
Plastic bags create a significant environmental impact and lead to economic burdens. About 25 million tonnes of plastic were produced in 2010 alone and 90% of trash floating in the ocean consists of plastic, which is 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds die each year due to plastic. Sri Lanka, being an island country, faces the serious concern of oceanic pollution.
One successful way to reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation is to replace them with biodegradable bags which offer a suitable alternative. REPLACE, co-financed by DEG and implemented by BASF Lanka and ASSIST, demonstrated the ease and benefits of switching to biodegradable materials for plastic production. The objective of this project was to encourage the use of compostable bags and effectively manage organic and biodegradable waste in Sri Lanka. The project aimed to do this by increasing awareness among government policy makers, major stakeholders and users on the environmentally harmful and damaging consequences of non-degradable plastic and the importance of waste segregation at the source.
As part of the project initiative, an awareness station was inaugurated on World Environment Day (June 5) in Good Market, Colombo to create awareness among the public about the need to switch to certified compostable plastic bags. University students / volunteers were engaged to facilitate the educational session and conduct surveys to collect feedback from the participants. Apart from Good Market, awareness stations were also set up at some of the prominent retail stores in Sri Lanka. Other activities included the conducting of road shows and seminars. These activities drew more than 15,000 participants from hotels, shopping malls, retailers and government agencies. Two producers / converters to biodegradable plastic bags were identified and were given trainings to produce the biodegradable bags while many more were encouraged to make the shift.
Sri Lanka generates an estimated 6,700 metric tons of waste daily – out of which only 2,800 is collected. The absence of an efficient system to clean up the waste has brought about a need to create a well-organized waste management system in Sri-Lanka to avoid the spread of toxic chemicals and pollution in the environment.
PROMISE is a private sector partnership (PSP) project between DEG and Holcim (Lanka) Geocycle Limited, in partnership with ASSIST, that aimed to provide an appropriate solution to the unorganised dumping and burning of waste in Sri Lanka. Thus, a waste management complex was set up at the Seeduwa dump site – which is surrounded by two key industrial zones called Katunayake and Biyagama, the country’s largest housing scheme called Raddolugama and the main airport in Sri Lanka (Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport).
ASSIST undertook various interventions to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of PROMISE. The waste management complex included a fully operational material receiving and segregating site. Training was facilitated for the surrounding communities, municipal / government offices, and urban councils. Green clubs promoting proper waste management and green bank facilities for collecting waste were set up in local schools and universities. Involving households and neighbourhoods in the establishment of a waste management ecosystem was essential to the project’s success.