Rethink Plastic: UNEP-TERI joint initiative in Mumbai region

15 Nov 2019

Rethink plastic

Known for its rich marine biodiversity, South and Southeast Asia are becoming hotspots of plastic leakage. Regional coordination and collaboration are critical for managing plastic waste, both on land and in water. Some of the largest rivers in the region—Ganges, Indus, and Mekong—carry uncollected waste from cities to the oceans. The accumulated plastic and microplastics causes more damage to our marine ecosystem and also threatens to impact biodiversity, livelihoods and human health.

Beach plastic waste

About Project

On 4th March 2019, the Government of Japan and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) declared a collaborative effort to enhance the knowledge and information for developing countermeasures against marine plastic litter in Southeast Asia and in India. Supported by UNEP, the project titled 'Promotion of countermeasures against marine plastic litter in Southeast Asia and India' is being implemented along the Ganges River Basin in Haridwar/Rishikesh and Allahabad, and along the Yamuna River Basin in Agra.

As part of this initiative, TERI will steer a public campaign named as Rethink Plastic in Mumbai to raise awareness about plastic pollution, its impacts, and ways to manage plastic pollution and motivate communities to reduce consumption of single-use plastic. TERI shall undertake the following activities:

  • Encouraging local partnerships to reduce plastic pollution in marine environments,
  • Engaging local communities through a stakeholder perception survey to enable develops an effective roadmap
  • Engage multiple stakeholders such as academia, industries, government, civil society organizations, and citizens to take definite action against plastic usage.
  • Develop a team of motivated trainers to help reach out masses to achieve long term impacts
  • Demonstrate innovative ways to reuse plastic waste such as PET bottles to raise around 50,000 saplings of native trees to offset the carbon footprint involved in the production of PET bottles

Micro plastic leakage
Micro plastic leakage points


National Science Scheme
Mumbai University


People have taken the pledge to RETHINK PLASTIC.


People have completed our perception survey


Saplings committed either through treasure hunt activities or Rethink plastic app which would help offset carbon footprint

A perception survey about plastic consumption, waste management, and its impacts.
Take Our Survey

Take a pledge with us to be a part of the solution to plastic pollution.
Pledge Against Single-Use Plastic

Download our official app and join us to plant native tree saplings in PET bottles.
Rethink Plastic App

Perception survey
Stakholder Interaction
Training of Trainers, Awarenss Programs and Treasure Hunt
Outreach Materials
Posters/Banners/Concept Note
Material for differently abled

Collection and characterization of plastic waste in Mumbai's marine ecosystem

1. Mangrove ecosystem

On 2nd November, as a part of the project, a pilot clean-up activity was organized at two mangrove areas adjacent to Vashi creek, Sagar Vihar and Mini Seashore in Navi Mumbai. A total of 18 volunteers including TERI staff, local residents and school students conducted the clean-up in two teams. A total of 280 kg of waste from two sites was collected and segregated in 10 categories such as glass, paper, plastic bottles, rubber, etc. Plastic bottles collected during clean-up activities shall be utilised by TERI for the event scheduled on 2nd February. The pilot activity allowed an opportunity to interact with like-minded stakeholders such as government officials and corporate organisations.

Read full blog here

2. Beach ecosystem

On December 3, 2019, a second clean-up activity under our campaign was carried out at the Chimbai Beach in Bandra, Mumbai where a group of local volunteers collected and segregated waste. TERI team briefed more than 30 participants about the clean-up drive and distributed personal protective equipment. After the waste collection, 16 types of plastic waste was segregated such as single-use plastic, plastic bottles, polyester, and cutlery. Read in detail here.

3. Creek Eco-system

Under the Rethink Plastic campaign, a 3rd clean up activity (Waste collection and characterization) was organized by TERI in collaboration with National Productivity Council (NPC) at Charkop, Near Gorai creek, Mumbai on 2nd March 2020. Along with the TERI and NPC officials, a group of 14 National Service Scheme (NSS) students from Jogeshwari Education Society's (JES) college of Science, Commerce and Information Technology,Mumbai volunteered for this activity. From the demarcated area of around 315 sq.ft (22.7 x 13.9 ft), volunteers collecetd aound 59 kg of mixed waste.

Creek ecosystem
Before and after scenario at the cleanup site

Charkop clean up : Report | Photo Documentation

Highlights of World Wetlands Day 2020 celebrations in Navi Mumbai

Community engagement event - World Wetlands Day 2020 : Report | Highlights

Get involved and help us offset the carbon footprint

One of the ways of addressing India's urban waste problem is community involvement. When people rally together and take the onus upon them, with a common goal, any challenge can be solved such as removing litter.

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Join us to help put plastic waste in the right place.

In collaboration with volunteers from schools, colleges, and housing communities, under the campaign Rethink Plastic TERI attempts to demonstrate the reuse of waste plastic bottles, collected from around the city. The bottles will also be collected from Clean-up drives that will be organized as a part of the campaign. The bottles collected from these efforts will be up-cycled and planted with native tree saplings. These saplings of native trees like Neem, Peepal, Banyan and so on would also be collected through several treasure hunts in campuses of schools/colleges/residential societies and from roadsides. Further, the saplings will be nurtured and handed over for afforestation to government departments, NGOs, citizen groups and, and individuals for afforestation.

The campaign will culminate with a World Wetlands Day event on February 2, 2020, where the 50,000 plastic bottles with saplings planted in them would be handed over for further nurturing and afforestation.

Similarly, a survey would be conducted by TERI, to assess the perception of the local community about:

  • Plastic waste- waste disposal and segregation
  • Impacts of plastics on humans and the environment
  • Awareness, willingness to use and actual use of alternatives to plastic
  • Awareness about plastic waste-related policies

Events conducted under the project

Date & Venue Activity Partner Organization Objective

Gateway of India and Gharapuri Island
  • Perception survey and Pledge against single use plastics
  • Interaction/ focused group discussion with ferry boat owners
  • Treasure Hunt for waste plastic bottles and native tree saplings,
  • Awareness and outreach
National Service Scheme (NSS), Ferry Owners Association, Gharapuri Gram Panchayat
  • To assess the ground realities and perception of grassroots stakeholders such as local residents and ferry boat owners, shop keepers and others regarding plastic use and management of plastic waste at the Gharapuri island
  • Encourage the tourists and local residents to take a pledge against single use plastic
  • To collect waste plastic bottles and saplings of native trees to be nurtured and raised in the waste plastic bottles with the help of volunteers

  • Planting saplings in 1400 waste plastic bottles the already collected further nurturing
  • Weighing the plastic to be recycled and handing over to the recycler.
  • Perception survey and Pledge against single use plastic with the 50 volunteers
50 NSS Volunteers
  • To collect saplings of native trees to be nurtured and raised in the waste plastic bottles with the help of volunteers
  • Planting saplings in 1400 waste plastic bottles which will be nurtured and later handed over for afforestation
  • Encourage the volunteers to take pledge against single use plastics
  • Asses their perception about plastic use and management of plastic waste
  • Motivate them to become trainers and encouraging other peers to do responsibly use and manage plastic

Sagar Vihar, Sector 8 Vashi
World Wetlands Day (WWD) Event
  • Cleanup in mangroves
  • Felicitation of individuals for exemplary pro- environment initiatives
  • Pledge against single use plastic by all participants
UNEP, NMMC, NSS, Multiple stakeholders, Local colleges and so on.
  • Clean the mangroves and responsibly dispose of the waste collected
  • To motivate other citizens by felicitating the individuals carrying out exemplary work to protect environment including Plastic Recyclers
  • Encourage the participants to take a pledge against single use plastics

RD National College, Bandra
Awareness programme NSS Unit, RD National College
  • Encourage the volunteers to participate in the campaign by:
  • Taking pledge against single use plastics.
  • Conducting perception survey on 'Plastic use and management'
  • Reusing waste plastic bottles and nurture native tree saplings in them.
  • Motivating them to become trainers and encouraging other peers to do responsibly use and manage plastic

In the News

The Rethink Plastic Campaing held at Sagar Vihar

On December 23, 2019, TERI conducted a roundtable discussion on "Plastic Pollution and Role of Stakeholders" at University of Mumbai campus, Fort, Mumbai.

To know more about our campaign, write to Dr Anjali Parasnis at or Ms Pranali Chavan at

United Nations Environment Programme
Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute
University of Mumbai

Related Content

Marine ecosystem
Urban waste
Waste management
Water pollution
Plastic waste
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