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No action plan by MoEF&CC to handle plastic waste finds CAG

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

Source: DTE

Context: As per the recent audit by CAG of MoEF&CC, it was found that the ministry has a mechanism  to assess the generation of plastic waste, but none for its collection and safe disposal



Key findings of the CAG report:

  • MoEF&CC has no action plan leading to ineffective implementation of Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016
  • Effective coordination between several pollution control boards (Central and State) and the ministry is lacking
  • Lack of uniform method of assessment of plastic waste generation within a state
  • The issue with the Rules: The Plastic Waste Management Rules framed by MoEF&CC lack comprehensiveness to give thrust to effective implementation and monitoring



Actions taken for plastic waste

Strategy by MoEF&CC for plastic waste control:

  • Behavioural change
  • Strengthening of the institutional system for the collection
  • Segregation and recycling of plastic waste
  • Engagement with producers, importers and brand owners through Extended Producer Responsibility
  • Banning of SUP from July 1st this year (2022)


How are other countries dealing with single-use plastic?

  • Consensus on SUP in UN: This year, 124 countries, parties to the United Nations Environment Assembly, including India, signed a resolution to draw up an agreement which will in the future make it legally binding for the signatories to address the full life of plastics from production to disposal, to end plastic pollution.
    • 68 countries have plastic bag bans with varying degrees of enforcement
  • Bangladesh: Bangladesh became the first country to ban thin plastic bags in 2002.
  • China: China issued a ban on plastic bags in 2020 with a phased implementation.
  • EU: EU bans certain single-use plastics for which alternatives are available.

CPCB is a statutory organisation which was constituted in September 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

  • It was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Important functions:

  • to promote the cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.
  • to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

Insta Links:


Mains Link:

Q. What is single-use plastic and what are the concerns associated with it? How can it be successfully phased out in the country? (15M)


Prelims Link:

Link it with how are plastic produced. Acts governing its use.

  1. Bisphenol A (BPA), a cause of concern, is a structural/key component in the manufacture of which of the following kinds of plastics? (UPSC 2021)

(a) Low-density polyethylene

(b) Polycarbonate

(c) Polyethylene terephthalate

(d) Polyvinyl chloride

Answer: B

BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1950s. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles.


  1. Triclosan considered harmful when exposed to high levels for a long time, is most likely present in which of the following? (UPSC 2021)

(a) Food preservatives

(b) Fruit-ripening substances

(c) Reused plastic containers

(d) Toiletries

Answer: D

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent present in some consumer products, including toothpaste, soaps, detergents, toiletries toys, and surgical cleaning treatments