The hazard of Hazardous Waste Management in India.
Author: Mr. Abhishek Naharia, RGNUL, Patiala
Across the Eras.
Man is a social animal and there is no denying the fact that the number of resources that man has exploited since the old ear has increased severely. Where in the earlier times when there wasn’t much population across the globe and there was less to be consumed by the population, man used less of the resources. It is a matter of fact that man has always either created or generated waste materials which are either the by-product of his activities or which cannot be used furthermore. That as we moved towards the ’70s and ’80s, it was found out that the Industrial sector was taking a huge leap as a result of which the nature, composition and inherent physical and chemical characteristics of the waste started deteriorating. As a result, hazardous waste is increasing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year.
Categorization of Wastes.
The hazardous waste in India is categorized broadly into 2 categories. Firstly, the hazardous waste produced by various industries in India. Amongst these, the petrochemicals, pesticides and petroleum industries generate the major chunk of the Hazardous waste. That the second class of the waste is the waste that is being brought into India from a foreign nation for re-cycling or re-processing. This can even be called the imported waste and this acts as a raw material for the recovery of metals.
Waste Regulation as per Law.
The basic document for the Indians, the Indian Constitution engrosses within it the responsibility of every Indian citizen to improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wild-life, etc. This comes from Art. 51 A (Part IV-A) of the Constitution which deals with the Fundamental Duties. Further, under Art. 48-A (Part-IV) it shall be the duty of the State to take care of the Environment and to safeguard the natural forestation.
Talking about the Environment specific laws, it could be said that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change was established in 1985 which is today the most apex body of the country to hear for the grievances of the people. Since then, a number of Environmental legislations have been put in place, along with the establishments of Boards like the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Board.
To regulate the management of hazardous wastes, the Hazardous Waste Management Rules 1989 was notified by the Central Government. These were notified under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. These were subsequently amended in the years 2000 and 2003. Further, for the second type of waste, the Hazardous and other wastes (Management and Transboundary) Rules, 2016 were notified again by the Union Government. Vide this Act, any waste by virtue of its physical or chemical characteristics which caused or which were likely to cause danger has been defined as hazardous.
Government Schemes and Reforms.
Although the waste management system has not been very effective, the Government has been bringing in several reforms and schemes time and again. One such scheme which is on the tongue of every citizen of India is the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. To quote Hema Malini and Anurag Kashyap a few days back in the Parliament, the MPs were seen brooming the area inside the premises of the parliament. They meant that every individual of the country should take initiatives himself and come up with himself in front of the rest of the society and lead India towards a better and cleaner place to be at.
The Government had launched this scheme way back in 2014 as soon as the Modi Government came into power in 2014. Since then, as a ritual on the 2nd October, the date when it was started the Government with most of its members being a part of the rally organize the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan drive. The Parliamentarians are seen to have taken up the broomsticks and clean some areas in the capital of the Country.
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of the Union Government, plastic waste has taken a center stage compared to any other waste like BioMedical, E-waste, Hazardous waste, etc. which poses huge threats to the society. A couple of other programs would be Make In India, Digital India, Skill India and Ease of Doing Business which ultimately result in the strengthening of the economic scenario.
Critical Analysis and Alternatives.
That the scientific and safe disposal of Hazardous Waste Management is a new concept for most of the countries including India. That as most of the countries face, India also faces a lack of technical and infrastructural facilities that need to be taken care of for the regulation of the resources that are available with the country.
Vide Waste Management Rules of 2016, the Central Government should include the standard operating practice and standardization protocol in respect of treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. The Current rules do not have any provision for the management of the already collected waste of the past, thus a framework for the disposal of such waste must be made.
That a strict and regulatory framework also needs to be made with respect to a third-party monitoring system which is currently also into effect in the USA. The waste of energy treatment shall be given an independent identity and be made a complete industry. Strengthening the regulatory mechanism and infrastructural development remain the rest of the two alternatives which are required in general.