Allianz Technology and Allianz Services, two operating entities of the Allianz Group in Technopark, with a presence of over two decades, have declared their support for an innovative plastic waste collection and management system in Thiruvananthapuram. Allianz has engaged experts at the German social enterprise, Plastic Fischer to remove and manage plastic waste in canals, rivers, and tributaries in the State capital.

Multi-partner initiative

Plastic Fischer is globally recognised for plastic waste management and river clean-up initiatives, a spokesperson for the initiative said. A total of 180 tons of river plastic was collected from around the globe to-date by the Plastic Fischer team since April 2021. It is working closely with the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation, the Suchitwa Mission of the State government, and the Irrigation Department. Along with the two Allianz enterprises, it has devised a three-year plan to scale the project to multiple canals, rivers, and tributaries in and around Thiruvananthapuram. This will not only reduce clogging and take plastic out of the ecosystem but also, open up opportunities for full-time jobs for local people, the spokesperson said.

At the core of Allianz journey

Barbara Karuth-Zelle, Member of Board of Management and COO of Allianz SE, said Thiruvananthapuram is at the core of its journey in India, as it is home to over 5,500 Allianz employees. “I am proud that together with Plastic Fischer and the state of Kerala, we are able to remove plastic in the city’s rivers, tributaries, and canals.” Karsten Hirsch, CEO and Co-Founder, said Plastic Fischer was founded was to protect marine biodiversity in the oceans from plastic pollution. “Therefore, we collect plastic from rivers in the most efficient way and create jobs for the local communities.

Effective intervention

KT Balabhaskaran, Executive Director, Suchitwa Mission, said the pilot system introduced by Plastic Fischer for collecting non-biodegradable waste from water bodies is effective. “We hope that the assurance made by Plastic Fischer to install similar interventions at various locations will be fulfilled in a fruitful manner. On the successful completion of the pilot project in Thiruvananthapuram, we are looking forward to replicating the system in other areas in the state.”

Sets up three-year plan

The goal is to collect 550 metric tons of plastic waste in three years while laying the groundwork for long-term waste management infrastructure. Permissions have been obtained for unclogging at eight sites. Three systems have been installed, two in the Thampanoor Thodu (stream) and one in the Ulloor Thodu. Pre-installation work for the fourth site is under way at Pattom Thodu. About 16 tons of plastic have been collected from the water bodies at two sites. The goal is to have 12 sites each in the first two years and run all 24 in the third year.

Recyclables vs non-recyclables

Recyclable waste is separated from non-recyclable waste, which includes plastic bags and sachets with multiple plastic layers, the spokesperson said. It is processed and transported to recycling plants, while the non-recyclables go to cement manufacturing plants. In India, Plastic Fischer is involved in waste management initiatives in Bengaluru and Varanasi. Allianz Group pursues a sustainability strategy into its business and operations, and actively works with trusted partners to tackle climate change and social inequality. Through a partnership with the not-for-profit Sea Shepherd, it helps fight against plastic pollution caused by abandoned and illegal fishing gear to protect the world’s oceans and marine wildlife in the Mediterranean Sea.