Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

IISc finds alternative for single-use plastics


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Allternative fibres to plastic

Mains level: Phasing out single use plastics

Researchers from the Department of Material Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (IISc) have found a way to make a substitute for single-use plastic that can, in principle help mitigate the problem of accumulating plastic waste in the environment.

What is the new material?

  • IISc has developed polymers using non-edible oil and cellulose extracted from agricultural stubble.
  • These polymers can be moulded into sheets having properties suitable for making bags, cutlery or containers.
  • The material so made is bio-degradable, leak-proof and non-toxic.

Key features

  • In order to obtain sheets with properties like flexibility suitable for making different articles, the researchers played with the proportions of cellulose to non-edible oil.
  • The more cellulose they added, and less non-edible oil, the stiffer was the material, so that it was more suitable to making tumblers and cutlery.
  • The greater the proportion of oil, the more flexible was the material and it could be moulded into sheets for making bags.

Why needed?

Ans. Plastic waste menace in India

  • According to a report by Central Pollution Control Board of India, for the year 2018-2019, 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic waste are generated by Indians.
  • The bad news is that this may well be an under-estimation of the problem.
  • Another alarming statistic is that of all the plastic waste produced in the world, 79% enters the environment.
  • Only 9% of all plastic waste is recycled.
  • Accumulation of plastic waste is detrimental to the environment and when this waste finds its way into the sea, there can be major harm to aquatic ecosystems, too.

Agricultural stubble

  • While plastic waste causes one type of pollution, agricultural stubble burning is responsible for air pollution in several States.
  • In Delhi, for example, the air quality index dips to indicate “severe” or “hazardous” level of pollution every winter, and this is due in part to the burning of agricultural stubble in the surrounding regions.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2020:

Which of the following statements are correct regarding the general difference between plant and animal cells?

  1. Plant cells have cellulose cell walls whilst animal cells do not.
  2. Plant cells do not have plasma membranes unlike animal cells which do.
  3. Mature plant cell has one large vacuole whilst animal cell has many small vacuoles.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Post your answers here.
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