New plastic waste management rules leave out vital points

One aspect that was not dealt with was the informal sector of waste collection

By Rajeshwari Ganesan
Last Updated: Tuesday 22 March 2016

According to a survey carried out by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, around 60–75 per cent of recyclable waste in present time consists of plastics
Credit:Rusty Clark/Flickr

Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar’s recent announcement of the new plastic waste management rules has come as a disappointment.

The rules which will be implemented across the country in six months are not clear about the fine amount to be imposed on plastic manufacturers or how the monitoring system would be carried out to pinpoint violators.

When the draft Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2015 were announced in November last year, environmentalists had felt the need for the draft to be strengthened further. There was a general optimism that the draft would be amended suitably to deter people to give up rampant plastic usage.

Addressing plastic use

Javadekar said that the new plastic waste management rules were aimed at reducing 6,000 tonnes of uncollected plastic waste generated daily by targeting manufacturers and industries by using a new principle called the Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) Act.

Under this Act, industries that use plastic will have to bear the onus and pay towards the collection of plastics through the distribution system that they use for retailing their products. Those failing to abide by the norms will lose the certification necessary to carry on with the operation. However, the modalities of implementation have not been specified as yet.

Producers and importers, who will introduce plastics in the market in the form of carry bags, multi-layered plastic sachets or for packaging purpose need to establish a system for collecting back the waste generated as a result of their products.

They will also have to work out the modalities for waste collection system based on the EPR through their own distribution channels or through the local bodies. The plan of collection has to be submitted to the respective state pollution control boards while applying for consent to establish, operate or renew the certification of business. According to Javadekar, this was done to improve the collection of plastic waste.

Missing links

One aspect that was not dealt with was the informal sector of waste collection. In Delhi, the informal sector employs about 150,000 people who transport almost 1,088 tonnes per day of recyclable waste, the All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh, a national union of waste pickers, based in Shahadara, said.

According to a survey carried out by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, around 60–75 per cent of recyclable waste in present time consists of plastics. It used to be just 20–30 per cent four years ago.

There is no mention on how to reduce plastic waste in the new rules. While it has focused on the use of plastic carry bags by increasing the minimum thickness from 40 microns to 50 microns, there has been no specification on the other forms of plastics such as the mineral water bottles (PET).

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  • Can anybody explain how a carry bag with thickness more than 50 micron is better than a carrybag of 50 micron from environment point of view

    Posted by: Nitin Gore | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Respected Sir,
    Ministry of Environment & Forest,
    Environment pollution control committee,
    National Green Tribulation,
    Pollution Control Board,
    Waste Management committee etc

    Subject :- Plastic Waste Management,

    I would like to request you to attention on alternative use of Oxo-Biodegradable technology apart from our mission to reduce,reuse,recycle plastic waste.

    PLASTIC BAN is definitely not solution to control or reduce use of plastic, as plastic became integral part of our lifestyle.
    As per New plastic waste rule its not possible to keep accountability of collection of plastics, it will remain in Nature, due to our poor waste management system ,Bad habit of throwing garbage & worst monitoring system for waste management.

    We hereby request you to understand "Oxo-Biodegradable technology for disposable plastic waste", We already have introduce this technology to all above department of government, we can offer best technical solutions for every kind of disposable plastic waste, also systems to implement,reduce plastic waste to keep our environment clean.

    I hope above officials may give us opportunity to understand & implement this technology in india, as it has been already been implement in many big & small countries.
    We have all documents,proof,test certificates,US FDA certificate,for this Oxo-Biodegradable technology. its safe,no harm to nature & help to control all kind of disposable plastic waste without impacting employment & industries.

    Sachin Bambal

    Posted by: Sachin Bambal | 3 years ago | Reply