Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and the Solid Waste Management Rules

Context: SC has ordered the removal of slum clusters located within safety zones along railway tracks in Delhi within three months.

  • The court declared “no interference, political or otherwise, should be there” against their removal and even barred all other courts from interfering in this process.
  • This hearing was based on a report filed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which said Railways is not following the Solid Waste Management Rules.

Analysis

  • Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is the Supreme Court-empowered body.
  • In exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and in pursuance of the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, EPCA has been set up by the central government.
  • It was constituted with the objective of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing and controlling environmental pollution in the National Capital Region.
  • The EPCA is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city as per the pollution levels.
  • The EPCA also assists the apex court in various environment-related matters in the Delhi NCR.

Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • These rules are the sixth category of waste management rules brought out by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), as it has earlier notified plastic, e-waste, biomedical, hazardous and construction and demolition waste management rules.

Salient Features

  • These Rules are now applicable beyond municipal areas and will extend 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 government organizations, places of pilgrims, religious & historical importance.   
  • The responsibility of generators has been introduced to segregate waste into three categories – Wet (biodegradable), Dry (non-biodegradable) and Domestic Hazardous waste (diapers, napkins, mosquito repellents, cleaning agents etc.)
  • The source segregation of waste has been mandated to channelize the waste to wealth by recovery, reuse and recycle.
  • The generator will have to pay ‘User Fee’ to the waste collector and a ‘Spot Fine’ for littering and non-segregation, the quantum of which will be decided by the local bodies. 
  • Waste processing facilities will have to be set up by all local bodies having 1 million or more population within two years.
  • Integration of waste pickers/ragpickers and waste dealers/Kabadiwalas in the formal system.
  • New townships and Group Housing Societies have been made responsible to develop in-house waste handling, and processing arrangements for bio-degradable waste.
  • Every street vendor should keep suitable containers for storage of waste generated during the course of his activity.
  • The developers of Special Economic Zone, industrial estate, industrial park to earmark at least 5% of the total area of the plot or minimum 5 plots/sheds for recovery and recycling facility.
  • Construction of landfill on the hills shall be avoided. 
  • All manufacturers of disposable products such as tin, glass, plastics packaging etc. or brand owners who introduce such products in the market shall provide necessary financial assistance to local authorities for the establishment of waste management system.
  • Collect Back scheme for packaging waste: All such brand owners who sale or market their products in such packaging material which are non-biodegradable should put in place a system to collect back the packaging waste generated due to their production.  
  • All industrial units using fuel and located within 100 km from a solid waste based Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant shall make arrangements within six months from the date of notification of these rules to replace at least 5 % of their fuel requirement by RDF so produced.
  • Non-recyclable waste having calorific value of 1500 K/cal/kg or more shall not be disposed of on landfills and shall only be utilized for generating energy.
  • Collection and disposal of sanitary waste: The manufacturers or brand owners of sanitary napkins are responsible for awareness for proper disposal of such waste by the generator and shall provide a pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diapers along with the packet of their sanitary products.
  • The rules have mandated bio?remediation or capping of old and abandoned dump sites within five years.
  • The Department of Fertilisers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers should provide market development assistance on city compost and ensure promotion of co?marketing of compost with chemical fertilisers.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture should provide flexibility in Fertiliser Control Order for manufacturing and sale of compost.

Do you know?

  • The solid waste generated in India in decreasing order: e-waste > hazardous waste > plastic waste > biomedical waste.

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