Current and Upcoming


February 14, 2023 - February 28, 2023
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
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Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai in partnership with the Global Columbia Collaboratory invites you to a virtual global seminar series offering a deeper perspective on the impact of excessive plastic on environmental systems, health, livelihoods, and social well-being. 



Plastics are now ubiquitous! Single-use plastic, which constitutes more than 50 percent of the global production, mostly ends up in the oceans through local waterways, streams, and rivers. Tracing and managing this waste is further challenged by the breakdown. How do these plastics interact with our physical and biological systems? International conventions, policies, and environmental laws are critical to regulate plastic production, use, and disposal. Most countries have guidelines for managing plastic pollution but policy implementation becomes challenging in the wake of weak governance and lack of suitable alternatives. The session will feature presentations from experts on the impact of plastics on our biodiversity, health, and well-being, and will highlight the current policies and regulations, key challenges, and way forward in managing the crisis of plastics.

Dr. Beizhan Yan, Lamont Associate Research Professor, Columbia Climate School
Dr. Alexandra Harrington, Chair, IUCN WCEL Task Force on Plastic Pollution
Ms. Shalini Goyal Bhalla, Member–Dry Waste and C&D Waste at NITI Aayog, Govt. of India

Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Time: 9:00 am to 10:30 am (EST)


The monumental task of dealing with plastic pollution requires creativity and innovation to reimagine packaging and delivery models, new ways of recycling, and a strong ecosystem that integrates social and economic dimensions of waste management. The session will feature changemakers, who will share their inspiring journeys and rich experiences of creating sustainable pathways for combating plastic pollution.

Ms. Rashi Agrawal, Director-Partnerships, Banyan Nation

Mr. Ved Krishna, Strategy Head, Yash Pakka

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Time: 9:00 am to 10:00 am (EST)

Dr. Beizhan Yan


Dr. Beizhan Yan is an Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and a Lamont Associate Research Professor, Columbia Climate School. He has successfully traced metals and aromatic hydrocarbons in the waters and air of NYC and linked the exposures of these air pollutants to pediatric asthma outcomes. Dr. Yan is also leading a collaborative study to examine the association between pediatric respiratory outcomes and air pollutants in Beijing, China. To determine possible impacts of hydrofracking on environment stresses, psychological stress, and health outcomes, he is leading a collaborative study in Pennsylvania. He is also conducting the ecological impact of microplastics in estuaries and oceans.

Dr Alexandra Harrington

Dr. Alexandra R. Harrington serves as Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Task Force on Plastic Pollution. She leads a global team of legal academics and practitioners in providing guidance to countries, regions and civil society for the process of negotiating the Plastics Treaty recently called for by the United Nations’ Environment Assembly. At Lancaster University, Dr Harrington teaches in the fields of international and national environmental law, public international law, and international human rights law. She is also a specialist in climate law and sustainable development law. She is the author of several monographs as well as more than 50 articles and book chapters.

Shalu Bhalla

Ms. Shalini Goyal Bhalla, Managing Director at International Council for Circular Economyis the author of India’s first book on Circular economy. She writes for many Indian as well as international magazines. Passionate about Circularity, she has been on Circular Economy Committees of Niti Aayog and several other policy dialogues. Working on several projects with EEB, OECD, Prevent waste alliance and UNIDO, she has been invited by the European Union to represent her Project ZERO. She has been a part of several FDPs and Executive training programs at IIMs and IITs. She is associated with MSME, Delhi Govt on their Entrepreneurship Mindset program. She has also been invited as a Mentor of Change by Niti Aayog.

Rashi Agrawal

Ms. Rashi Agrawal is Director, Partnerships at Banyan Nation and alumna of Columbia Business School. Impact investor and strategy consultant. Banyan Nation is one of India’s first vertically integrated plastic recycling companies that helps global brands use more recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic.  Ms. Agrawal was previously with Impact Investment Exchange, Intellecap (Impact Investing); Campbell Alliance (Healthcare Strategy Consulting); NERA (Financial Services Consulting) before joining the team of Banyan. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS in Electrical Engineering and BA Economics (dual major) from the University of California, Irvine.