Solid waste Pollution

  • Solid waste refers to any discarded or abandoned material that is solid in nature and no longer useful to its owner.
  • It includes a wide range of waste types, such as household waste, industrial waste, commercial waste, construction and demolition debris, and agricultural waste.
  • Solid waste can be organic or inorganic, biodegradable or non-biodegradable, and can vary in composition and characteristics.
  • Proper management of solid waste is essential to prevent environmental pollution, protect public health, and promote sustainable practices.
  • This includes waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and proper disposal methods like landfilling or waste-to-energy conversion. Inefficient or inadequate solid waste management can lead to the accumulation of waste in landfills, illegal dumping, air and water pollution, and the spread of diseases.
  •  Implementing effective waste management practices, promoting recycling and waste reduction, and raising awareness about responsible waste disposal are key to addressing the challenges associated with solid waste.

Solid Waste Management, 2016 Rules

  • Mandatory Segregation: All waste generators will have to segregate and store the waste generated by them under three separate categories – bio-degradable, non-bio-degradable and domestic hazardous waste – in suitable bins before handing it over to authorised rag pickers or waste collectors.
  • Concept of Extended Producer Responsibility: Local bodies can charge a fee from generator of wastes. The new rules have asked all such brand owners who sell products in non-biodegradable packaging material to put in place a system to collect back the packaging waste generated due to their production (ET).
  • Burning of Solid Waste has been prohibited.
  • Social Dimension has been adequately considered. Rag pickers are to be integrated in the formal system.
  • Increasing Coverage: The new rules will now apply much beyond the municipal areas, extending to urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships, areas under the control of Indian Railways, airports, airbase, port and harbour, defence establishments, special economic zones, State and Central State and Central government organizations, places of pilgrims, religious & historical importance. Event organizers, and new townships and group housing societies have been brought under the system.
  • Waste-processing facilities to be set up by all local bodies having a population of 1 million or more

Hazardous wastes

There are several legislation that directly or indirectly deal with hazardous waste. The relevant legislation are the Factories Act, 1948, the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and some notifications under the Environmental Protection Act of 1986. A brief description of each of these is given below.

Under the EPA 1986, the MoEF has issued several notifications to tackle the problem of hazardous waste management. These include:

  • Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989, which brought out a guide for manufacture, storage and import of hazardous chemicals and for management of hazardous wastes.
  • Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, were formulated along parallel lines, for proper disposal, segregation, transport etc. of infectious wastes.
  • Municipal Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, whose aim was to enable municipalities to dispose municipal solid waste in a scientific manner.
  • Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Amendment Rules, 2000, a recent notification issued with the view to providing guidelines for the import and export of hazardous waste in the country.

Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Trans-boundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019

  • Solid plastic waste has been prohibited from import into the country including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented Units (EOU).
  • Exporters of silk waste have now been given exemption from requiring permission from the MOEFCC.
  • Electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, if found defective can now be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission from the MOEFCC.
  • Industries which do not require consent under Water Act 1974 and Air Act 1981, are now exempted from requiring authorization also under the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Trans-boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 provided that hazardous and other wastes generated by such industries are handed over to the authorized actual users, waste collectors or disposal facilities.
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