Annual Lecture 2023: Plastic Waste Management by Vinod Bodhankar, Sagar Mitra

Vinod Bodhankar is the co-founder-director of Sagarmitra Abhiyaan - an Initiative, dedicated to plastic waste management at the school, housing society, village, and city levels. He also serves as the convenor of the Indian Peninsula River Basins Council, Jalbiradari, a network of river teams from 11 states and 3 union territories. Additionally, he is a founder and director of Vishwasankruti Ashram for ethical training and leadership. Mr. Vinod has been honored with the 'Jal Rishi Samman' in 2017 at the National Convention on Droughts and Floods. Since 2022, he has been appointed as the 'Advisor for Ocean and Coastal Energy Conservation' by the Swedish-based organization 'People's World Commission on Drought and Flood.'

In memory of Sujit Patwardhan, the 2023 lecture Vinod Bodhankar on 1st October, took us on a 12-year journey tracing the path of Sagar Mitra Abhiyaan and its dedicated team of 250,00 volunteers in plastic waste recycling. He unveiled the significance of collaborative efforts, strategies for community engagement that bring about meaningful change from a personal to a global perspective.

In a thought-provoking presentation, Bodhankar addressed the alarming trajectory of plastic production and its devastating consequences on our planet. He emphasized that the same qualities that once made plastic a marvel are now contributing to its status as an unmanageable waste material, and indeed an environmental disaster. He pinpointed several key factors, including widespread ignorance and disinterest in learning about waste management, the overwhelming influence of distracting media, and a lack of discipline in waste disposal. These issues have led to a severe disconnect between the people and governing institutions, further worsening the plastic waste crisis.The mismanagement of plastic waste, which often mixes with wet waste, prevents proper decomposition and results in heaps of garbage that add no value to the economy.

He stressed the urgent need for a fundamental shift in waste management practices, outlining practical steps that individuals, schools, communities, and cities can take to adopt a more responsible approach. He concluded by emphasizing that open-ended applied living, a forgotten but inherent life-protection skill, holds the key to swiftly reversing the global plastic waste crisis and ensuring a sustainable future for all. To see the entire lecture, watch this video...