The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has proposed a draft National Resource Efficiency Policy 2019 which aims to streamline the efficient use of these resources with a minimum negative impact on the environment.
What is Resource Efficiency?
- Govt has to contemplate to double recycling rate of key materials to 50% in 5 years and enable reuse of waste. The draft policy intends to gradually reduce dependence on virgin materials and enhance re-use of construction and demolition waste.
Key Features of the draft National Resource Efficiency Policy(NREP):
- Resource efficiency or resource productivity is the ratio between a given benefit or result and the natural resource use required for it.
- Resource efficiency is a strategy to achieve the maximum possible benefit with the least possible resource input.
National Resource Efficiency Authority (NREA): This will be achieved by setting up an NREA with a core working group housed in the Ministry of Environment. Its mandate will be developing and implementing resource efficient strategies for material recycling, reuse and land-filling targets for various sectors and set standards for reuse of secondary raw materials. National Resource Efficiency Board: NERA would be supported by an Inter-Ministerial National Resource Efficiency Board to guide on the aspects critical to its implementation.
- Manufacturers and service providers would be required to use more recycled or renewable materials and awareness would be created among consumers to indicate the shift.
- The idea of the national policy is to drive the country towards circular economy through efficient use of available material resources, based on the principle of 6R and ‘green public procurement’.
- The 6R stands for reducing, reuse, recycle, redesign, re-manufacture and refurbish while the very premise of ‘green public procurement’ is to procure products with lower environmental footprints such as secondary raw materials and locally sourced materials.
- It also pitches for moving towards ‘zero landfills’ approach in the country, hinting at the possibility of imposing ‘landfill taxes’ and ‘high tipping fees’ for bulk generators of waste so that they can move towards optimal use of materials and better waste management.
- Authorities & Boards proposed by the Policy-
The Policy states that the NREA will prepare a three-year action plan. Resource efficiency strategies will be developed that will lay out sector/region specific scope, targets, timelines, and action plans. NREA will adopt these strategies into the three-year action plans for implementation. The first Action Plan has been prepared for 2019-22
- It is also planned to offer tax benefits on recycled materials, green loans to small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) and soft loans to construct waste disposal facilities, apart from setting up Material Recovery Facilities (MRF).
Conclusion: It is clear that waste management is one of the key areas where significant work has not been done to push for objectives of the circular economy (CE) model that seeks to restore and regenerate, and also reduce waste by replacing the end-of-life concept. Reduced waste generation through closing the loop using CE and resource efficiency (RE) approaches will not only reduce pollution associated with waste disposal but also save related costs in resolving the short-term trade-offs between growth and environmental sustainability towards enhancing the overall security of human beings. Also read: A Draft UN Report – Warns on the Negative Implications of Climate Change How Climate Change Has Increase Flood Events In India
- According to data available, India’s resource extraction of 1580 tonnes/acre is much higher than the world average of 450 tonnes/acre, while material productivity remains low.
- Water is fast becoming scarce while deteriorating air quality has emerged as a major threat to human life.
- There has been massive soil degradation, with 147 million hectares (Mha) of a total of 329 Mha land area hit.
- Import dependency is nearly 100% for the majority of the ‘most critical’ materials -cobalt, copper, and lithium that find extensive application in the high-end technology industry.
- Over 80% of crude oil that is processed in the economy is imported, along with 85% of its coking coal demand. Extraction of non-metallic minerals is crippled with challenges.