Centre issues new solid waste management rules

New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday came out with new solid waste management rules which make it mandatory for manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers to provide separate pouches along with the product for its proper disposal.

The Environment Ministry's Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, has an expanded ambit and extends beyond municipal corporations and includes railway stations, industrial townships, airports, ports, defence establishments, places of pilgrimage.

Under the new rules, local bodies can charge a certain fee from generators for proper management of such waste while provisions have been included for spot fine for littering at public places.

This is the sixth category of waste management rules brought out by the ministry, as it has earlier notified plastic, e-waste, biomedical, hazardous and construction and demolition waste management rules.

"The last such rules were framed in 2000 and for 16 years there was no review. At present, 620 lakh tonnes of solid waste is generated every year. Out of that, only 70 per cent or 430 lakh tonnes is collected of which only 30 per cent, or 120 lakh tonnes, gets treated. The rest of it goes into the dumps.

"This is dangerous and also gives rise to health hazards. The way the population is increasing, it is projected that by 2030, the solid waste generated will be 165 million tonnes and by 2050, it is expected to increase to 437 million tonnes. So, this is the time to ensure proper management of solid waste," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters here.

Terming it a 'serious' problem, Javadekar said there are at present only 553 compost plants, 56 bio-methanisation plants, 22 plants which generate fuel from such wastes and 13 plants which produce electricity through it.

Citing a complaint of ragpickers that they face health hazards while picking diapers and sanitary napkins, the minister said, "Manufacturers or brand owners or marketing companies of sanitary napkins and diapers should explore the possibility of using all recyclable materials in their products or provide a pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diaper along with the packet of their sanitary products.

"All such manufacturers, brand owners or marketing companies should educate the masses about wrapping and disposing of their products."

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