Activists say amendments involve use of expensive, regressive and untested technologies for waste disposal
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has finally decided to withdraw the controversial amendments to Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) or MSW Rules of 2000. The decision has come after a series of petitions from activists and a Karnataka High Court order against the proposed changes.
On July 2 this year, MoEF had uploaded the draft amendments on its website, inviting comments from public. The non-profits working on waste-related issues had alleged that the proposed amendments encourage the use of expensive and untested incineration technologies for the disposal of municipal solid waste.
Additional solicitor general Kalyan Basavaraj on Wednesday appeared before the division bench of Justice N Kumar and Justice B V Nagarathna, representing the Centre, to announce that the ministry has decided to withdraw its proposal.
Karnataka High Court direction
On October 24, the Karnataka High Court had directed MoEF not to proceed with the proposed amendments. Instead, the ministry was asked to consider all the objections filed against the amendments and prepare new draft rules to be presented in the court.
The court also noted that the proposed amendments would undo all the efforts taken up by the state governments, local bodies and others in the past decade in implementing MSW Rules 2000. The court stated that the proposed amendments would promote the regressive approach of collecting waste without segregation at source and create environment and public health issues. A lot of money has already been spent on implementation of rules, the court observed.
Following the directions, Environment Support Group, a Bengaluru-based non-profit, had recently filed submissions in the court, questioning the proposed amendments, and had argued that the 2013 Draft Rules were highly regressive and against the high court’s direction.
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