The Norway-India Marine Pollution Initiative celebrates 3 years

The Norway-India Marine Pollution Initiative was launched during previous Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s visit to India in January 2019, and has grown into one of the flagships of Norway’s cooperation with India.

On February 3rd, the Project Steering Committee met and discussed the progress made in the Initiative and the road ahead. The Initiative supports five projects, covering topics like circular economy of plastics, waste management, plastic pollution monitoring and awareness raising.

- I believe we have achieved a lot. We have exchanged best practices on how to make the circular economy work in our societies, including through better waste management and extended producer responsibility (EPR), kept projects going throughout the pandemic, and built relationships between Indian and Norwegian government institutions, researchers and NGOs, Ambassador Hans Jacob Frydenlund said in his opening remarks.

The Project Steering Committee (PSC) for the Marine Pollution is co-chaired by the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Norwegian Ambassador. The committee comprises of 18 members and has representatives from 6 Indian ministries, 2 research organizations and civil society. It meets twice a year to give guidance to the bilateral projects and discuss strategic issues.

During the meeting, the Centre for Science and Environment explained the progress made in improving sustainable waste management in the pilot cities of Agra and Gurugram in the project; the Norwegian Institute for Water Management and its five Indian partners explained the progress made in testing water samples in the two river sites in Gujarat for plastic and persistent organic pollutants and building capacity of regulatory agencies; UNEP India detailed the six research studies that have been taken up on plastic waste recycling and implementing the ban on single use plastics in the states, Afroz Shah explained the contribution made by volunteers in Mumbai not only collecting plastic from seas but also the steps taken to find alternatives and prevent it at source.

The PSC also deliberated on the national policies and programmes taken by Norway and India to prevent plastic and marine pollution. The upcoming UN Environmental Assembly in February would see discussion on resolutions put forth by member countries to prevent plastic pollution. In the meeting, both Norway and India agreed that urgent steps are required to arrest the impact of plastics on marine areas.