Written by Kabir Arora. Waste Narratives. 03/28/2016
The Plastic Waste Management Rules, that were notified on 18th March, 2016, clear a lot of ambiguity which was governing the management of plastic waste management in the previous years. While one can endlessly critique the rules and find fault in them, this post is not going to take that route. Considering that these are the outcomes of very long deliberations, one need to be considerate of the processes undertaken. Even though the public consultations/ discussions held last year for the framing of rules in different forums have been termed undemocratic by many, the present rules have done fair amount of justice of clearing the air and envisioning better plastic waste management paradigm.
The Ministry in its press release has highlighted the salient features of rules. This post is not going to re-write them here again. What this post intends is to look at how the given rules can be taken up for implementation. For now, and the years to come the rules have been written on stone. The avenue of preparing action plan for their implementation at state level and local body level is what we need to focus our energies on. The local bodies which include both urban and rural areas in their jurisdiction have been included in the rules. Their responsibility is to frame by-laws for the implementation of rules. Coming to the matter of implementation, we have to be attentive to the following provisions and be active in ensuring what has been envisioned:
Phasing out of Mutlyi-layered packaging
The rules envisage complete phase out of multi-layered non-recyclable plastic in the coming two years- both from the manufacturing and the use dimensions.
Multi-layered packaging has been defined as “multi-layered packaging” means any material used or to be used for packaging and having at least one layer of plastic as the main ingredients in combination with one or more layers of materials such aspaper, paper board, polymeric materials, metalized layers or aluminium foil, either in the form of a laminate or co-extruded structure”.
With the active citizens’ cooperation and participation, it is not impossible to think of a future without multi-layered packaging. Plastic bag ban in Bangalore is one example. Residents of many localities in the city have gone out of their way, for its proper implementation and forced shopkeepers to have alternatives to plastic bags, which includes paper and cloth bags.
However, in absence of active citizens’ participations, non- governmental organisations and the state pollution control board will need to assume responsibility for the same.
Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR)
Rules emphasize on Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) and asks all producers, importers and brand owners to have their modalities worked out for the collection of waste generated after the usage of their produced goods i.e. multi-layered plastic sachet or pouches or packaging material, within six months. “This plan of collection to be submitted to the State Pollution Control Boards while applying for Consent to Establish or Operate or Renewal.” The state urban development department and pollution control board have to give teeth to the given provision by cancelling the registration or declining the consent to establish, operate or renewal if satisfactory action plan and installation of waste management system is not in place. Continued here…