- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Hazardous Waste (Management& Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016
What to study?
- For Prelims: Highlights of rules.
- For Mains: Significance and the need for these rules, comprehensive waste management rules.
Context: In order to strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste in the country, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has amended the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.
- The amendment has been done keeping into consideration the “Ease of Doing Business” and boosting “Make in India” initiative by simplifying the procedures under the Rules, while at the same time upholding the principles of sustainable development and ensuring minimal impact on the environment.
Some of the salient features of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management& Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019 are as follows:
- Solid plastic waste has been prohibited from import into the country including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented Units (EOU).
- Exporters of silk waste have now been given exemption from requiring permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- Electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, if found defective can now be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- Industries which do not require consent under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, are now exempted from requiring authorization also under the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, provided that hazardous and other wastes generated by such industries are handed over to the authorized actual users, waste collectors or disposal facilities.
What necessitated this?
- In spite of having a significant plastic pollution load of its own, and a ban on plastic waste imports, imported PET bottles from abroad for processing SEZ.
- The influx of PET bottles was quadrupled from 2017 to 2018.
- Indian firms are importing plastic scrap from China, Italy, Japan and Malawi for recycling.
- India consumes about 13 million tonnes of plastic and recycles only about 4 million tonnes.
What is hazardous waste and what are the concerns associated with it?
Hazardous waste is the waste that poses substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment.
- Rapidly growing industries in the country have contributed in the production of large part of hazardous waste material. The sources of hazardous waste are basically agricultural and agro industries, medical facilities, commercial centres, household and the informal sectors.
- Therefore, to reduce environmental hazardous proper attention is required during disposal of such waste, because it cannot be disposed of by common means like other by products of our daily lives.
Mains Question: E-waste is a looming crisis for humanity and calls for immediate action. Discuss.