The waste generated from the industries, manufacturing processes, e-waste in various forms including solids, gases, sludge, or liquid harm the environment and eventually become a threat to human health, hence proper disposal and management of hazardous substance becomes a high priority task.
So let’s see how India manages its hazardous waste.
- HSMD – Hazardous Substance Management Division
This division serves as a nodal point within the Ministry for the management of solid waste.
- Solid Waste Management
- Hazardous Waste Management
- Chemical Safety
- Administers the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.
Solid Waste Management
Under this segment, rules are framed for the proper management of solid, plastic as well as construction and demolition waste.
Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016
Initially, these rules were confined to municipal areas, but in the year 2016, the Ministry revised the rules and expanded its coverage to urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial township, airports, harbors, ports, areas under Indian railways, defense establishments, airbase, places of pilgrimage, religious and historical importance.
- Mandatory segregation of waste at the source level.
- Gives power to the local bodies to form bye-laws to impose user fee, that is to be paid by the generator to the waste collector and impose ‘spot fine’ for littering and non-segregation.
- The rule recognizes market associations, event organizers, hotels, and restaurants responsible for waste segregation and management in partnership with local bodies.
- All the resident, gated communities, market associations, or institutions with an area greater than 5000 square meters have been made responsible to develop in-house waste handling and processing arrangements for biodegradable waste.
- The rule enables the segregation in 3 streams – Wet (biodegradable), Dry (Paper, metal, wood, etc), Domestic Hazardous Waste (Diaper, Napkins, etc)
Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
Established in 2011 under the name “Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, this was initially confined to municipal areas due to which these rules were not effective. So to tackle this issue the Ministry revised the rules and notifies the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
- There has been an increase in the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags from 40 to 50 microns.
- First-time cover and stipulate minimum thickness of 50 microns for plastic sheets used for packaging and wrapping, to facilitate collection and recycle of plastic waste.
- Plastic waste management fee to be paid by street vendors willing to provide carry bags as pre-registration charge.
- Promote and innovate ways to use plastic waste as a road construction material.
- Empowers local authority to impose user charge and spot fine.
Construction and Demolition Waste Management, 2016
Established in 2016, before these new rules were framed, it was regulated under the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000
The new rules are named “Construction and Demolition Waste Management, 2016” regulate waste generated by re-development, repair, demolition, construction, and promote gainful utilization.
- These rules recognize every waste generator responsible for collecting and segregating concrete and other construction waste and it needs to deposit at a collection center made by a local body or handover it to authorized service providers.
- The authorized service providers must have a waste management plan covering all the aspects of waste management including the disposal (within their jurisdiction).
Hazardous Waste Management
Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling of Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 were notified under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- Provides provisions for authorization of hazardous waste generating units hazardous waste.
- Establishes TSDF – Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility
- Regulates import/export of hazardous wastes under the obligation of Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous waste and its disposal.
- Simplifies and rives the list of waste regulated for import/export.
- List of waste that does not require permission from Ministry – Metal Scarps, Paper waste, and various electrical and electronic equipment.
- List of waste prohibited for import – Solid plastic waste, chemical wastes, household waste, edible fats, and oils of animals.
- Empower state agencies to control, supervise and regulate the collection, segregation, dismantling, and recycling.
- Producers are required to set up collection systems
- Producers are required to meet the cost of the e-waste management system.
- Producers are required to reduce the use of hazardous substances (RoHS) to the prescribed limit.
There are two sets of rules notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986:
The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 (MSIHC)
- Prevention of major accidents caused by industrial activities.
- Limiting the effects of such accidents.
The Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules (EPPR).
Administers effective planning, preparedness, and responses to chemical accidents at National, State, District, and Local levels.
People nowadays are vigilant, and vigilance is as important as criticism or finding solutions to an issue, but one should have a brief understanding of what should one be vigilant about, vigilance with surface knowledge is nothing but a nuisance on all fronts, and it is dangerous
As the old age phrase indicates: “Alp Vidya Bhayankari”
(A little learning is a dangerous thing)
Remember people, knowledge is power and together we can make the world a better place!
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