The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for a three-year delay in drawing up a national framework for recycling and disposal of the post-consumer used plastic waste by brand owners.
NGT has given the Ministry time till November 30 to file compliance report on framing national framework on Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR) in accordance with Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, (PWM Rules) as amended in 2018.
A four-member bench of the tribunal chaired by Adarsh
Kumar Goel observed that the submissions made on behalf of the MoEF&CC
merely show shifting of responsibility instead of adhering to the mandate
of the PWM Rules, which require immediate enforcement of liability by effective mechanism instead of deferring the issue.
“It will be appropriate that the MoEF&CC concludes the long-pending issue of framing a national framework on EPR within two months instead of adopting long-winding procedure which has been going on for more than two years, in spite of the enactment of the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules more than three years ago,” the bench said.
“The MoEF&CC may ensure that the meeting takes place with the involvement of competent senior officers to take a decision and for this purpose CPCB must be also involved. The compliance report of the MoEF&CC may be filed latest by November 30, says the order.
It further directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to lay down a compensation regime and scale on ‘Polluter Pays’ principle by appointing expert committee as may be found necessary and furnish its report before the next date of hearing scheduled on December 4.
While acknowledging the hazardous impact of unscientific handling of plastic waste, the court noted that one of the means to implement Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR) is to require stamping of non-degradable product with the information as to how after use such product is to be handled.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Jitendra Yadav, seeking direction over extended producer responsibility (EPR), under which plastic producers and brand owners are required to implement mechanism on collection and disposal of post-consumer used plastic waste.
This Tribunal is also considering the matter of implementation of PWM Rules based on an application filed by the CPCB itself, complaining that the states are not furnishing the requisite information and not taking preventing and regulatory steps as per the PWM Rules.
The matter was last reviewed on July 22 this year and directions were issued requiring the states/UTs to take further action to meet the gaps pointed out by the CPCB within the laid down timelines failing which compensation may be required to be paid by the defaulting states/UTs.
Later the Tribunal had directed the chief secretaries of all the states/UTs to appear in person before the Tribunal with their respective reports on compliance of the Solid Waste Management Rules along with other subjects including PWM Rules. But court did not get satisfied with the reports and gave additional time for taking further action and furnish further reports.