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Government Issues New Rules On Management Of Hazardous Waste
May 02, 2016

The Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 notified by the Union environment ministry on Sunday replaces its older version made in 2008.
The salient features of Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management &Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 include the following:

  • The ambit of the Rules has been expanded by including ‘Other Waste’.

  • Waste Management hierarchy in the sequence of priority of prevention, minimization, reuse, recycling, recovery, co-processing; and safe disposal has been incorporated.

  • All the forms under the rules for permission, import/export, filing of annual returns, transportation, etc. have been revised significantly, indicating the stringent approach for management of such hazardous and other wastes with simultaneous simplification of procedure.

  • The basic necessity of infrastructure to safeguard the health and environment from waste processing industry has been prescribed as Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs), specific to waste type, which has to be complied by the stakeholders and ensured by SPCB/PCC while granting such authorisation.

  •  Procedure has been simplified to merge all the approvals as a single window clearance for setting up of hazardous waste disposal facility and import of other wastes.

  • Co-processing as preferential mechanism over disposal for use of waste as supplementary resource, or for recovery of energy has been provided.

  • The approval process for co-processing of hazardous waste to recover energy has been streamlined and put on emission norms basis rather than on trial basis.

  • The process of import/export of waste under the Rules has been streamlined by simplifying the document-based procedure and by revising the list of waste regulated for import/export.

  • The import of metal scrap, paper waste and various categories of electrical and electronic equipments for re-use purposehas been exempted from the need of obtaining Ministry’s permission.

  • The basic necessity of infrastructure to safeguard the health and environment from waste processing industry has been prescribed as Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) specific to waste type.

  • List of processes generating hazardous wastes has been reviewed taking into account technological evolution in the industries.

  • List of Waste Constituents with Concentration Limits has been revised as per international standard and drinking water standard.

The following items have been prohibited for import:

a. Waste edible fats and oil of animals, or vegetable origin; 

b. Household waste;

c. Critical Care Medical equipment

d. Tyres for direct re-use purpose

e. Solid Plastic wastes including Pet bottles

f. Waste electrical and electronic assemblies scrap

g.  Other chemical wastes especially in solvent form.

  • State Government is authorized to prepare integrated plan for effective implementation of these provisions, and have to submit annual report to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

  • State Pollution Control Board is mandated to prepare an annual inventory of the waste generated; waste recycled, recovered, utilised including co-processed; waste re-exported and waste disposed and submit to the Central Pollution Control Board by the 30th day of September every year.

Definition of Hazardous waste:

Hazardous waste means any waste, which by reason of characteristics, such as physical, chemical, biological, reactive, toxic, flammable, explosive or corrosive, causes danger to health, or environment. It comprises the waste generated during the manufacturing processes of the commercial products such as industries involved in petroleum refining, production of pharmaceuticals, petroleum, paint, aluminium, electronic products etc. As per the information furnished by CPCB in the year 2015, the total hazardous waste generation in the country is 7.46 million metric tonnes per annum from about 44,000 industries

Proper Hazardous Waste Management

i. Scientific disposal of hazardous waste through collection, storage, packaging, transportation and treatment, in an environmentally sound manner minimises the adverse impact on human health and on the environment. The hazardous waste can be disposed at captive treatment facility installed by the individual waste generators or at Common Hazardous Waste Treatment.

(ii)  Hazardous waste as lead acid battery scraps, used oil, waste oil, spent catalyst etc. and other waste such as waste tyres, paper waste, metal scrap etc. are used as raw material by the industries involved in recycling of such waste and as supplementary resource for material and energy recovery. Accordingly, it is always preferable to utilise such waste through recycling, or for resource recovery to avoid disposal through landfill or incineration.

Problems of unscientific disposal of Hazardous and other waste

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.Disposal in water bodies, or in municipal dumps leads to toxic releases due to leaching in land and water entailing into degradation of soil and water quality.The workers employed in such unscientific practices suffer from neurological disorders, skin diseases, genetic defects, cancer etc.Hence, there is a need for systematic management of hazardous and other waste in an environmentally sound manner by way of prevention, minimisation, re-use, recycling, recovery, utilisation including co-processing and safe disposal of waste.

Analysis:

  • Experts welcomed ban on import of plastic waste, but cautioned about allowing used electronic items as e-waste is already a huge problem in India

  • Banning import of any plastic waste  is a welcome step. But we need to be careful about import of used electronic items as they should not end up as cheap imports and increase India’s problem of electronic waste

  • Procedure has been simplified to merge all the approvals as a single window clearance for setting up of hazardous waste disposal facility and import of other wastes

  • The approval process for co-processing of hazardous waste to recover energy has been streamlined and put on emission norms basis rather than on trial basis

What is the significance of New Rules:

The new hazardous waste rules will ensure resource recovery and disposal of hazardous waste in an environmentally sound manner. 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.


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