There are hardly any plastic processing units in Dharavi: Study

Mumbai, Apr 5 (KNN) There are hardly any plastic processing units in Dharavi in Mubai which process virgin plastics into final usable articles as it is estimated that more than 100 recycling units have been shifted out of Dharavi in the past couple of years due to rising cost of land, power cost, according to a study.

Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has identified plastic cluster in the Dharavi area here for a technical gap analysis study.

plastic processing
There are hardly any plastic processing units in Dharavi: Study

It has roped in city-based Institute of Chemical Technology as knowledge partner for the purpose.

TIFAC is an autonomous organization under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and acts as a think tank within government setup.

The study was also to include the problem of dumping of plastics as well as process to minimize it.

The Plastic processing sector comprises of over 30,000 units involved in producing a variety of items through injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion and calendaring.

In Mumbai region there are more than 1500 units engage in processing of plastics. All these industries are manufacturing plastic items more than 25 Microns thickness. These units are located mainly in Dharavi, Lalbaugh, Wadala and Andheri area.

Dharavi may be one of the world’s largest slums, but it is by far its most prosperous – a thriving business centre propelled by thousands of micro entrepreneurs who have created on invaluable industry i.e. turning around the discarded waste of Mumbai’s 19 million citizens.

Most of the units at Dharavi are involved in extrusion activities of virgin materials as well as recycled plastic materials whereas most of the plastics processors in Mumbai suburban area are involved in production various industrial as well as consumer products.

There are hardly any plastic processing units which process virgin plastics into final usable articles. It is estimated that at present more than 350 units are involved in plastics processing.

The maximum plastics processing units are tiny and micro scale and out of 350 units about 300 micro and tiny units are processing the plastics waste for recycling and remaining are converting virgin plastics into final article.

Hundreds of barefoot street children, human recycling machines, scurry back and forward hauling bundles of waste plastic, cardboard or glass – received from Mumbai’s vast Municipal dumps as well as Thane Municipal dumps can be seen. From every alley comes the sound of hammering, drilling and soldering. In every shack, dark figures, sit waist-deep in piles of car batteries, computer parts, fluorescent lights, ballpoint pens, plastic bags, paper and cardboard boxes and wire hangers, sorting each item for recycling.

This is where 80 percent of Mumbai plastic waste is given a new life. Dharavi’s plastic recycling industry and virgin plastic industry employs almost 10,000 to 12,000 people.

The melting reshaping and moulding of discarded plastic is carried out at Dharavi. At Dharavi barely 10 per cent of the commercial activities are legal. Most of the workshops are constructed illegally on government land, power is routinely stolen and commercial licenses are rarely sought. There is just one lavatory for every 1,500 residents, not a single public hospital or other facilities, but Dharavi remains a land of recycling opportunity for many rural Indians. The average household in Dharavi is well above agriculture wage levels.

Indian industry recycles nearly 16-17 lakh tones of plastic waste every year and the figure is growing every year due to increased usage of plastics for various applications and almost 60% of it is recycled only at Dharavi.

Government had approved a plan called ‘Vision Mumbai’ to create the world class city by 2013. The demolition work has began in various parts of Dharavi and police are forcing out inhabitants, leaving thousands of homeless.

It is estimated that more than 100 recycling units have been shifted out of Dharavi in the past couple of years due to rising cost of land, power cost. Thus most of the final product manufacturing units are shifted out of Dharavi. The units are now in work status at various parts of Mumbai like, Goregaon, Malad, Bhandup, Mankhurd, Jogeshwari, etc.. The plastics cluster of Mumbai, today comprises of big number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises located at various suburbs of Mumbai viz, Mumbai Central, Sewari, Wadala, Lalbaug, Parel, Bandra, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali, Bhandup, Mulund, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Thane, Vasai, Nalasopara etc.