New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said there is no proper mechanism for plastic waste management in the country and directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to take necessary action in this regard.
India ranks number three in terms of plastic fibres found in a sample of tap water – 82.4 per cent of tap water sampled contained over 4 plastic fibres per 500 ml, according to a study by the University of Newcastle, Australia, and published by the World Wildlife Foundation this year.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said mere issuance of directions by the CPCB is not adequate and compliance needs to be overseen.
“There is no proper mechanism for plastic waste management which was being dumped in open or burnt in brick kilns resulting in pollution. Action taken by the CPCB is the issuance of directions… Even with regard to illegal import, CPCB as a statutory regulator can take up the matter with the authorities concerned,” NGT said.
The tribunal directed the CPCB to take further steps in the matter accordingly and file a report by e-mail before 16 October.
The CPCB had earlier informed the tribunal that the import of plastic waste must be restricted as the hazardous waste generated in the country is to the extent of 26,000 tons a day and the same is not properly managed.
The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, as amended in 2018, prohibit open burning of plastic waste and permit its recycling only if it conforms to Indian Standard: IS 14534:1998, it said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by one Amit Jain, who alleged that cheap waste paper and road sweep waste is imported from the US, Europe etc., for burning in brick kilns, causing land and air pollution.
“Large plastic waste yards can be seen near recycled paper mills. Import of cheap waste paper is hazardous and is affecting the environment. The import is to the extent of 9,00,000 tons of waste which generates hazardous plastic,” the plea said.
PM Modi recently urged people to observe the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year as a day to make India plastic-free and exhorted municipalities, NGOs and the corporate sector to come up with ways for safe disposal of accumulated plastic waste before Diwali.