The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF & CC)’s new rules on hazardous waste recognize it as a resource for recovery and reuse.
“The rules are environment and industry-friendly. The provisions of the new rules are in line with this government’s priority for ease of doing business and Make in India, but with responsible concerns for sustainable development,” Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, said, while releasing the HW Rules, 2016.
The new rules specify a waste management hierarchy, according to which different management strategies should be prioritised. The hierarchy is: Prevention, minimisation, reuse, recycling, recovery, co-processing and safe disposal. Other wastes, such as waste tyre, paper waste, metal scrap and used electronic items are now included in the ambit of the type of waste to which these rules can be applied.
Moreover, the forms for permissions, import/export, filing of annual returns, transportation etc have been revised. The procedure has been simplified to allow for single window clearance for setting up a hazardous waste disposal facility.
Also, according to the new rules, the standard operating procedure, a documentation of the infrastructure required to safeguard the environment from a waste processing industry, has to be compiled by the stakeholders and the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). The Pollution Control Committee (PCC) must look at it before granting authorisation to that industry.
Further, the list of waste regulated for import/export has been revised. Now, import of metal scrap, paper waste and electrical and electronic equipment does not require the ministry’s permission. Household wastes, edible fats and oils of animals, critical care medical equipments, tyres for direct reuse, solid plastic wastes including pet bottles and other chemical wastes, especially those in solvent form, have been banned from import.
The state government has been accorded the responsibility of setting up/allotting space for recycling, pre-processing etc. It is also required to register workers involved in recycling, pre-processing and other utilisation activities and undertake industrial skill development activities for workers. It must also submit an integrated plan for effective implementation of these rules to the MoEF&CC every year. Similarly, the SPCB must prepare a report on the waste generated, recycled, recovered, utilised, co-processed, re-exported and disposed and submit it to the CPCB every year on September 30.
According to a CPCB estimate, India generated nearly 7.46 million metric tonnes of hazardous waste from 44,000 industries in 2015. Unscientific disposal of hazardous and other waste through burning or incineration leads to emission of toxic fumes comprising of dioxins & furans, mercury, heavy metals, causing air pollution and associated health-related problems.
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