plastic-pollution

In news: Recently, Over 25 states failed to submit their action plans by April 30 to the CPCB on systematic disposal of plastic waste.

More about the news: 

  • NGT order: The NGT in March 2019, ordered all states and UTs (except for Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, and Puducherry) to submit action plans for implementing Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 by April 30, 2019.
  • Penalty for non compliance: any failure in this regard results in defaulting states being required to pay compensation to be deposited with the CPCB at the rate of Rs one crore per month after May 1, 2019.
  • The cause of non-compliance by state governments: According to NGO Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA), there was lack of knowledge among state authorities and a communication gap between state and central government officials.

Plastic waste generated in India: 

  • India generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day, but 40% of it remains uncollected causing choking of drainage and river system, littering of the marine ecosystems, soil and water pollution, ingestion by stray animals,and open air burning leading to adverse impact on human health and the environment.
  • Nearly one sixth of total plastic waste is generated by 60 major cities with Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengluru together generating more than 50% of total contribution from these cities.

 

Source: Times of India

 

India notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules in 2016, which replaced the earlier Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. 

About Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016: 

  • Increase in the thickness of carry bags and plastic sheets:  Increasing the thickness of plastic carry bags from 40 to 50 micron and stipulation of 50-micron thickness for plastic sheets is likely to increase the cost by about 20 %. Hence, the tendency to provide free carry bags will come down and collection by the waste-pickers also increase to some extent.
  • Collect back system: The introduction of the collect back system of waste generated from various products by the producers/brand owners of those products will improve the collection of plastic waste, its reuse/ recycle.
  • Phasing out of manufacture and use of non- recyclable multilayered plastic: Manufacturing and use of non-recyclable multilayered plastic if any should be phased out in two years’ time.
  • Responsibility of waste generator:   All institutional generators of plastic waste, shall segregate and store the waste generated by them in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules.All waste generators shall pay such user fee, or charge, as may be specified in the bye-laws of the local bodies for plastic waste management, such as waste collection, or operation of the facility thereof, etc.
  • Responsibility of local bodies and Gram Panchayat: The local bodies shall be responsible for setting up, operationalisation and co-ordination of the waste management system and for performing associated functions.
  • Responsibility of retailers and street vendors: Retailers or street vendors shall not sell, or provide commodities to consumers in carry bags, or plastic sheets, or multilayered packaging, which are not manufactured and labelled or marked, as prescribed under these rules.
  • Pre- registration fee: The shopkeepers and street vendors willing to provide plastic carry bags for dispensing any commodity shall register with the local body.
  • Reuse of plastic waste:  The options on reuse of plastic in various applications namely, road construction, waste to oil, waste to energy will enhance the recycling of plastic.
  • Land for waste management facility: The responsibility to provide land for establishing waste management facility has been made to the Department with business allocation of land allotment in the State Government.  This would eliminate the issue of getting land for the waste management facility.

Amendment in 2018: 

  • The amended Rules lay down that the phasing out of Multilayered Plastic (MLP) is now applicable to MLP, which are "non-recyclable, or non-energy recoverable, or with no alternate use."
  • The amended Rules also prescribe a central registration system for the registration of the producer/importer/brand owner.
  • The Rules also lay down that any mechanism for the registration should be automated and should take into account ease of doing business for producers, recyclers and manufacturers. 
  • The centralised registration system will be evolved by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration of the producer/importer/brand owner. While a national registry has been prescribed for producers with presence in more than two states, a state-level registration has been prescribed for smaller producers/brand owners operating within one or two states.

 

About Microplastics: Microplastics, small pieces of plastic, less than 5 mm (0.2 inch) in length, that occur in the environment as a consequence of plastic pollution. Microplastics are present in a variety of products, from cosmetics to synthetic clothing to plastic bags and bottles. Many of these products readily enter the environment in wastes.

Microplastics are divided into two types: 

Primary Microplastics: Examples of primary microplastics include microbeads found in personal care products, plastic pellets (or nurdles) used in industrial manufacturing, and plastic fibres used in synthetic textiles (e.g., nylon). Primary microplastics enter the environment directly.

Secondary microplastics form from the breakdown of larger plastics.this typically happens when larger plastics undergo weathering, through exposure to, for example, wave action, wind abrasion, and ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

Microplastics are not biodegradable. Thus, once in the environment, primary and secondary microplastics accumulate and persist.