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Circular Economy – The Surat Model

Sustainable development needs massive transformations in the way societies and markets are set. The circular economy (CE) model encompasses a different prospect for innovation and incorporation between natural ecosystems, businesses, everyday lives, and waste management. In a linear economy, raw natural resources are acquired, transformed into goods, and are then disposed of. On the contrary, a circular economy model suggests securing the gap between the natural ecosystems' cycles and production on which individuals successively depend. On the one hand, this suggests eradicating waste. On the other hand, it also means cutting off compound substances and speculating on renewable energy. According to the World Economic Forum, "A circular economy is an industrial system restorative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models1

In the last four decades, Surat has seen unparalleled growth, reporting one of the peak growth rates in the nation. The city's strength story divulges the impressive advancement the town has made in acknowledging its challenges and promoting the all-inclusive philosophy and planning that actual resilience needs. Surat has addressed many of its crucial challenges through its proposals and arrangements, specifically its water security and flooding challenges.

After growing to be a prototypical in the nation for its circular economy, generating revenue through the reuse of wastewater, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) endeavours to become a net-zero liquid discharge city. City municipal commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani emphasised the city's accomplishments at COP26 hosted by Global Resilient Cities Network, Glasgow. At the conference, Pani described how the town is making funds of INR 140 Cr. by selling 115 MLD water recycled from wastewater. The city attempts to create INR 500 Cr. through the treated water for non-potable uses. The contributing affiliates have extensively admired Surat city's model of recycling and reuse of water at the global meet. The city is an example of how a circular economy model can operate in a town where revenue is generated by selling water. Surat city is generating 1000 MLD wastewater currently, and it tries to treat and reuse it undivided2.

The circular economy accomplishes the picture of what is required to resolve the climate crisis. It advocates an approach driven by renewable energy and transforms the way products are produced and used. This model cuts the GHG emissions across the economy through various policies.

A significant alteration will be needed in how the economy works and makes worth to suffice climate objectives. It will entail moving away from current 'take-make-waste linear model towards a regenerative economy by design. A circular economy encompasses a positive way onward by redefining worth creation to contemplate on citizens’ interests. It tackles the inadequacies of the dominant system while generating new prospects for industries and people. Circular economy present novel opportunities to help address the climate issues by plummeting the GHG emissions alongside the supply chains, conserving the embodied energy of goods and supplies, and accumulative carbon sequestration through the regeneration of natural systems.

A circular economy offers a comprehensive range of benefits. It stipulates a multi-trillion-dollar fiscal prospect to better access goods, improve mobility and connectivity, and lower air pollution. It pawns to additional acute challenges, including biodiversity damage, resource scarceness, waste, and contamination. Subsequently it, functions as a delivery mechanism for several UN Sustainable Development Goals3.

This article has been co-authored by Bhakti Jain and Karishma Sharma.