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New Hazardous Management Rules makes India into a land of landfills for foreign hazardous and other wastes

Written By Gopal Krishna on Monday, April 11, 2016 | 4:09 AM

ToxicsWatch Alliance
April, 2016
Briefing Paper

New Hazardous Waste Rules against Clean India Mission

Makes India into a land of landfills for foreign hazardous and other wastes

In an exercise that reflects the gullibility of media, the newspapers and news agencies reproduced the Press Release of Press Information Bureau (PIB), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India on New Hazardous Waste Rules which was issued on a Sunday without its critical examination.

According to Supreme Court of India, “Hazardous Wastes are highly toxic in nature.  The industrialization has had the effect of generation of huge quantities of hazardous wastes.  These and other side effects of development gave birth to principles of sustainable development so as to sustain industrial growth. The hazardous waste required adequate and proper control and handling.  Efforts are required to be made to minimise it.  In developing nations, there are additional problems including that of dumping of hazardous waste on their lands by some of the nations where cost of destruction of such waste is felt very heavy.  These and other allied problems gave birth to Basel Convention.”[1] 

An examination of the Draft Rules[2] which formed the basis of the 2016 Rules released by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 3rd April, 2016 shows that its provisions are contrary to the objectives of 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' (Clean India Mission) launched on 2nd October, 2014 by the Prime Minister.

The new rules titled "Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management &Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016". It is noteworthy that the final text of Rules which has been announced through PIB has neither been put in public domain nor has it been uploaded on the website of the Ministry. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) called the ministry to inquire about the text of the Rules, the official informed that it will be uploaded after permission from the senior official. It is apparent that the Rules have not been notified in the Gazette of India as yet. It is strange as to why the Rules were released prior to its notification in the Gazette of India.   

In order to comprehend issues at stake it is important to peruse the Draft Rules which was shared for comments from the public. It defined “import”, which means "bringing into India from a place outside India" and “importer” which means "an occupier or any person who imports hazardous and other waste".

As per the Draft Rules, “transboundary movement” means any movement of hazardous or other wastes form an area under the jurisdiction of one country to or through an area under the jurisdiction of another country or to or through an area not under the jurisdiction of any country, provided that at least two countries are involved in the movement.

It reveals that "transboundary movement" of hazardous has become part of ministry's sound environmental management approach. This term was introduced in 2008 apparently under the influence of hazardous waste traders when the pre-existing Hazardous Waste Rules were amended. This term has been lifted from UN’s Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The key objectives of the Basel Convention are: “to minimize the generation of hazardous wastes in terms of quantity and hazardousness; to dispose of them as close to the source of generation as possible; to reduce the transboundry movement of hazardous wastes.” It is quite evident that the New Rules are contrary to the objective of the UN Convention to which India is a party. The 2016 Rules encourages disposal of waste farther away from the source of generation. It promotes transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. 

The Convention was made part of its order by Supreme Court of India due to alarming situation created by dumping of hazardous waste, its generation and serious and irreversible damage, as a result thereof, to the environment, flora and fauna, health of animals and human beings. The Court took cognizance of violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

CHAPTER III of the Draft Rules deals with "IMPORT AND EXPORT OF HAZARDOUS AND OTHER WASTES"
Clause 11 of the Draft Rules provides that "The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change shall be the nodal Ministry to deal with the transboundary movement of the hazardous wastes in accordance with the provisions of these rules."
Clause 12 (2) reads: "The import of hazardous and other wastes form any country shall be permitted only for the recycling or recovery or reuse."

Such permission for import of hazardous waste for "recycling or recovery or reuse" is an attempt to define waste as non-waste. This is an act designed to re-define end-of-life product as non-waste. It is akin to defining waste as non-new good.  It is an exercise in linguistic corruption. This has apparently been done to pander to the interests of international and national hazardous waste traders.
Clause 13 (1) reads:  The import and export of the hazardous and other wastes specified in Schedule III, shall be regulated in accordance with the conditions laid down in the said Schedule.
This is an admission that trade in hazardous waste will happen in a business as usual manner.
Clause 13 (2) reads: " Subject to the provisions contained in sub-rule (1),-(i) the import or export of the hazardous wastes specified in Part A of Schedule III shall require Prior Informed Consent of the country form where it is imported or exported to, and shall require the license from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and the prior written permission of the Central Government. (ii) the import of other wastes specified in Part B of Schedule III shall not require prior written permission of the Central Government and Prior Informed Consent of the country from where it is imported; (iii) the import and export of the hazardous wastes and other wastes not specified in Part A or Part B, respectively of Schedule III but having the hazardous characteristic outlined in Part C of the said Schedule shall require prior written permission of the Central Government before it is imported or exported from India, as the case may be."

It is apparent from above provision that Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce has made Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change subservient to commercial interest. Thus, it has subordinated the environmental health interest of the country.
Clause 13 (3) reads: "The import of hazardous and other wastes shall be limited to one-third of the total annual processing capacity of the unit, as specified in the authorisation."

This is also an admission of support for import of hazardous and other wastes.

Clause 15 of the Draft Rules deals with Procedure for import of hazardous wastes and other wastes. It reads: "Actual users for recycling or reprocessing may import into the country other wastes listed in Part B of Schedule III (having no asterisk/s ‘*’) if such user is authorised by the State Pollution control Board, has the Directorate General of Foreign Trade license, wherever applicable and the relevant documents have been verified by the Customs authorities:
Provided that the documentation requirement for specific kind of waste shall be specified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate Change from time to time."

Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate Change will have believe that all the waste generated in the country has been treated and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Having accomplished this Herculean task, the central Government is offering its services and its robust environmental management infrastructure to other countries to help them deal with their hazardous waste and other wastes. It will have us believe that there is abundance of laboratories, treatment facilities and land in the country which can be used for testing samples of imported waste and treatment and landfills. In order to demonstrate “Ease of Doing Business”, it is prepared to and Make India into a land of landfills for foreign hazardous wastes as part of its Make in India program.

Other provisions of Clause 15 make it clear that the government is promoting trade in hazardous waste in a business as usual manner.

The relevant provisions reads: "The Port or Customs authorities shall, in case of import of other wastes as specified in Part B of Schedule III, ensure that shipment is also accompanied by Movement Document in Form 7 and pre shipment inspection certificate issued by the inspection agency certified by the exporting country or the inspection and certification agency approved by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade."

It reads: "The importer of the hazardous waste and other wastes shall maintain records of the hazardous and other waste imported by him in Form 8 and the record so maintained shall be available for inspection."
It also provides "The importer shall also inform the concerned State Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board, the date and time of the arrival of the consignment of the hazardous and other waste ten days in advance."

These provisions under Chapter III and the role of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce reveals that the Rules continue to promote trade in hazardous wastes. These Rules allow Indian to remain a dumping ground of hazardous wastes.

The Draft Rules stated that it will not be applicable to "wastes arising out of the operation form ships beyond five kilometers of the relevant baseline as covered under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958) and the rules made thereunder." The Rules should have dealt with hazardous substances laden end-of-life ships as part of hazardous wastes which is covered under UN’s Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal[3] and accepted by Supreme Court of India as part of Right to Life.[4] It is noteworthy that Basel Convention is related to the control of Trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal. The ships destined for ship-breaking operations are "hazardous wastes" under the Convention.

While the prohibition on import of Waste edible fats and oil of animals, or vegetable origin; Household waste; Critical Care Medical equipment; Tyres for direct re-use purpose; Solid Plastic wastes including Pet bottles; Waste electrical and electronic assemblies scrap and Other chemical wastes especially in solvent form is praiseworthy but the continuance of patronage to international and national hazardous waste traders is contrary to supreme national interest.

In September 2007, the Ministry of Environment proposed an amendment to the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules; after amendment it would read "Hazardous Materials (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules[5]. The proposed rules had the effect of exempting transit countries from obtaining prior informed consent for all shipments of hazardous waste to India. The proposal also stated that as long as a material contains less than 60 per cent contamination by a hazardous constituent, then it is safe for our ecology. Waste asbestos embedded in the structure of the scrap material was not banned.

Such motivated attempt at redefinition attracted widespread criticism from environment, public health groups and even the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It was a gross act done at the behest of hazardous waste traders. Two members of Supreme Court's own monitoring committee on hazardous wastes also raised objections. In a study, ASSOCHAM recommended ban on trade in hazardous wastes. 

The question which merits consideration in the light of the 2016 Rules is: Are hazardous wastes and hazardous materials and recyclable materials synonymous?

The 2007 draft Rules had redefined "hazardous waste" as "hazardous material". It introduced a completely new system of classifying items, contrary to the definition provided by the Supreme Court and UN's Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste, to which India is a party. The 2016 Rules follows the flawed path of the draft 2007 Rules. 

The Basel Convention gives a very clear and simple definition of waste: wastes are materials which are disposed of, or intended to be disposed of, or required to be disposed of, to the environment. The Supreme Court order of October 2003 had already observed that although Basel Convention has banned import of 76 items, India had only banned 29 items under the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989. It had directed the Union of India to incorporate the Basel list in the existing Rules and had actively argued for expanding the list of prohibited items for import.
Instead, the amendment proposed by the Ministry leaves room for import of hazardous waste. If it gets notified in the Gazette of India, it will imply that any hazardous waste can be freely imported if it simply states that it meant for recycling, reuse and recovery.

The Draft Rules made public for creation 2016 Rules defines “disposal” as “any operation which does not lead to recycling, recovery or reuse and includes physico chemical, biological treatment, incineration and disposal in secured landfill.” It is noteworthy that it will have us believe that “recycling, recovery or reuse” is disposal.

A careful perusal of the Rules shows that the Rules are being under the tremendous influence of Ministry of Commerce. The design of the hazardous waste management rules is part of the process of re-engineering provisions of the Environment Protection Act and Rules therein in keeping with the recommendations made by the Govindarajan Committee on Investment Reforms and are admittedly “in line with this Government’s priority for Ease of Doing Business and Make in India”. In such a scenario, environmental health concerns have taken a back seat.  

It must be recalled that the Ministry of Commerce abandoned its decision to have a registration scheme for overseas suppliers of scrap as applicable in China. As per the EXIM Policy 2002-2007, import of second hand goods is restricted and can be imported only with the permission of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). The DGFT had announced a plan in March 2006 to introduce a registration system covering imports of unshredded ferrous and non-ferrous scrap. This was proposed in the wake of explosions and loss of life linked to the presence of munitions in consignments arriving at Indian ports. Further, DGFT had announced a plan similar to that implemented in China which would have required applicants to demonstrate their financial and business standing.

But with the proposed amendment from Ministry of Environment, hazardous waste gets classified as recyclable material, and it would fall in the category of second hand materials. The DGFT will be able to allow even hazardous waste since as per the new notification a waste would be deemed as non-waste. In this way toxic waste will reincarnate itself as a reusable or recyclable or recoverable product.

When the DGFT had proposed its registration scheme covering imports of scrap, the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Indian scrap steel industry had objected. They argued that exporters should make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. We should self-regulate to ensure no explosive materials are shipped.

The DGFT appears to have caved in to their pressure and instead suggested self-regulation to the industry, according to information received from the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) meeting in Warsaw, Poland during 22-23 October 2007. BIR is the international trade federation representing the world’s recycling industry, covering in particular ferrous and non-ferrous metals etc.
The position of the Ministry of Commerce (the DGFT) is, in effect, in complete contrast to the revised EU Waste Shipment Regulations, to which all EU member nations need to comply. The new EU rules now require an tracking document to accompany shipments of non-hazardous materials designated as waste, including recyclables. But the scrap industry feels that the complexity of information required by the new EU rules was totally illogical, complaining that it did not offer clear environment benefit.

In effect, the proposed rules are a formal announcement of globalisation of the toxic chemical crisis. Exporters in rich countries have been consistently seeking to export toxic scrap to India and likewise, there has been a similar trend amongst businesses in the India to import such waste.

Self-regulation is no alternative to corporate accountability. The solutions are waste management through clean production and reduction in the use of toxics chemicals through life cycle assessment, precautionary principle, eco-design, extended producers' responsibility and the polluter-pays principle. All of this is sought to be undermined by the proposed rules. This is being done despite the fact that National Environment Policy acknowledges how "Environmental factors are estimated as being responsible in some cases for nearly 20 percent of the burden of disease in India".[6] The New Hazardous Waste Rules does not factor in such concerns.

National Environment Policy refers to a range of goals that seem well-intended. They include strategies for cleanup of toxic and hazardous waste dump legacies, developing a national inventory of such dumps, an online monitoring system for movement of hazardous wastes and taking legal measures for addressing emergencies arising out of transportation, handling, and disposal of hazardous wastes.

In drafting the 2016 Rules, all of this has been ignored. It is germane to note that NEP mentions, "the Cabinet or a nominated Committee of the Cabinet may be requested to review the implementation of the National Environment Policy". In line with that, the Ministry's New Hazardous Waste Rules should be withheld even at this late stage. It must be reviewed and revised before it is notified in the Gazette of India. Central Government should recollect that being a signatory to Basel Convention which it signed on 15th March, 1990 and ratified on 24th June, 1992, it is under the obligation to act as the letter and spirit of the Convention and the order of the Supreme Court of India. The order was reiterated on 30th July, 2012.  

The Hazardous Waste Rules, 2016 should be revised to reflect Government of India’s intention to ratify the Ban Amendment to Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. India missed the opportunity of ratifying it before the Twelfth Conference of the Parties held in Geneva during 4-15 May, 2015. The main principles of this UN treaty are: transboundary movements of hazardous wastes should be reduced to a minimum consistent with their environmentally sound management; hazardous wastes should be treated and disposed of as close as possible to their source of generation; and hazardous waste generation should be reduced and minimized at source. Government of India’s current position is contrary to these principles and stands in manifest contrast with its position in 1992.

By decision III/1, of September 22, 1995, at COP-3, the Third meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the above Convention that took place in Geneva in September 1995, adopted an Amendment to the Convention. This bans the export of hazardous wastes for final disposal and recycling from rich countries to poorer countries. This amendment was to enter into force following ratification by 62 parties as per Article 17 (5) of the Convention.

This Article reads as follows: “Instruments of ratification, approval, formal confirmation or acceptance of amendments shall be deposited with the Depositary. Amendments adopted in accordance with paragraphs 3 or 4 [of article 17 of the Convention] shall enter into force between Parties having accepted them on the ninetieth day after the receipt by the Depositary of their instrument of ratification, approval, formal confirmation or acceptance by at least three-fourths of the Parties who accepted them or by at least two thirds of the Parties to the protocol concerned who accepted them, except as may otherwise be provided in such protocol. The amendments shall enter into force for any other Party on the ninetieth day after that Party deposits its instrument of ratification, approval, formal confirmation or acceptance of the amendments.”

The Ban Amendment has not entered into force despite the fact that 70 parties have ratified it because Basel Convention Secretariat appears to have surrendered under the influence of powerful hazardous waste traders. The parent treaty, the Basel Convention has been ratified by 183 countries. Government should pay heed to the fact that the European Union has implemented the Basel Ban in its Waste Shipment Regulation. It has made it legally binding on all EU member states. Norway and Switzerland too have implemented the Basel Ban in their legislation.

Under the influence of countries like USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Korea and Japan in general and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses, International Chamber of Commerce, US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), the international trade federation representing the world’s recycling industry, India’s Hazardous waste Rules have faced continued dilution. These countries and interests never wished Convention and compliant Rules to come into force. 

As part of Clean India Mission, Central Government should to regain its original stance of being a strong opponent of the international waste trade and an ardent supporter ban on toxic waste exports from the world’s richest countries to less industrialized ones.

Government of India should recollect its position at the First Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention in Piriapolis, Uruguay, from 3-4 December, 1992. A. Bhattacharja, Head of the Indian delegation who pleaded with industrialized countries to stop exporting hazardous waste. “You industrial countries have been asking us to do many things for the global good — to stop cutting down our forests, to stop using your CFCs. Now we are asking you to do something for the global good: keep your own waste.”

Government of India was firm even at the Second Basel Convention Conference of Parties, in March 1994 and advocated ban on all hazardous waste exports from the world’s most  industrialized countries, the members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to non-industrialized countries like India.

It was only in 1995 that Government of India revised its position at the Third Basel Conference of Parties in September 1995 under the harmful influence of representatives of the US and Australia. This led to Indian government announcing that it was reconsidering its position on the Basel Ban.

Environment Ministry must disassociate itself from the regressive statement of Kamal Nath, the then Union Minister of Environment & Forests who averred, “We are against environmentally unfriendly recycling. We are not against the movement of waste, provided the recipient has adequate equipment, facility and the proper process to deal with it.” This was a direct assault on intent of Basel Convention. It was the first nail in the coffin. Consequently, India did not ratify the ‘Ban Amendment’ to the Basel Convention, which could have stopped the import of hazardous waste and stopped India from becoming a leading dumping ground. “The last damage was done at the Bali Conference on the Basel Convention when the then Minister of State for Environment Namo Narain Meena said that we saw hazardous waste as recyclable material under the influence of Commerce Ministry, which has adopted the policy of free trade in hazardous waste unmindful its environmental and human cost.

US Government and ICC have been instrumental in outwitting the UN ban on hazardous waste trade through bilateral Free Trade Agreements between countries. In one of its position paper on the Basel Convention, ICC has even called for the ban on hazardous waste to be stopped by the World Trade Organization (WTO) because it is trade disruptive. This undermines the customary environmental law principles. Wikileaks has revealed how the US Government ensured that the same Kamal Nath was not made the Commerce Minister again for his position in WTO negotiations in a different context.
Government should not delay its ratification of Ban Amendment anymore. The notification of New Hazardous Waste Rules provides a chance to recover the lost ground and re-adopt its 1992 position and ask the rich countries to “keep your own waste” for global common good.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660, E-mail-1715krishna@gmail.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.org




[1] (2003), Order, Writ Petition (Civil) 657 of 1995, Supreme Court of India, Oct. 14
[2] Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2015
 [3] Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
[4](2003), Order, Writ Petition (Civil) 657 of 1995, Supreme Court of India, Oct. 14
[5] http://www.envfor.nic.in/legis/hsm/HAZMAT_Draft.pdf
[6] National Environment Policy, 2006

P.S: Subsequent to the release of TWA's Briefing Paper on 5th April, 2016 and following TWA's phone call and letter to the ministry, the URL of link to Hazardous Waste Management Rules, 2016 was shared on 7th April, 2016. The URL is available here: 
TWA's briefing paper remains relevant because none of the concerns raised have been addressed in the New Rules. 

Case against Gujarat Govt & Adani company disposed

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, April 02, 2016 | 3:18 AM

A Special Leave Petition (Civil) 20520 of 2015 was filed in the Supreme Court in November 2015 in the matter of a judgment and order dated 17th April, 2015 of the Gujarat High Court in WP (PIL) No. 12 of 2011 wherein High Court had dismissed the petition filed by the Kheti Vikas Seva Trust. The 73 page long High Court’s order was passed by Justice Vijay Manohar Sahai and Justice R.P.Dholaria.

The High Court’s order records, “the Committee has recommended following measures for project clearance conditions and post clearance monitoring:
1. The current regulatory system is not able to handle the complexity and size of projects of this nature. There is an urgent need to strengthen the monitoring abilities and to bring in public oversight.
2. The monitoring and auditing of such a large project is only possible, if the clearance conditions are specific and detailed, geo-referenced and there is a lands at imagery analysis to benchmark
the project area, pre-construction. Without these benchmarks, it is not possible, to ascertain the extent and scale of the violations committed during construction and operation phase.
3. More, importantly, a system should be developed so that all monitoring data is widely accessible by local communities to use and comprehend in terms of impacts.” This committee was set up by Union Ministry of Environment and Forests “to look into the complaints regarding severe impact upon environment safety and integrity committed by M/s.Adani Port and SEZ Ltd.”  

It appears strange that although the High Court recorded these recommendations of the independent committee that expressed distress at the cumulative damage caused by Adani’s projects, still the petition was dismissed.

The High Court's order conclusively states "the respondent-company has been granted phase-wise Environmental Clearance beginning the year-1995 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), Government of India, New Delhi for their project and the State Government has allotted various parcels of lands to the respondent-company and they have developed the area pursuant to such Environmental Clearance and allotment of lands. The committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), New Delhi to look into the complaints regarding severe impact upon environment safety and integrity committed by M/s.Adani Port and SEZ Ltd has submitted its detailed report with recommendation to the Government of India and the same is under consideration of the competent authorities. In view of the aforesaid observations made by the committee, we are convinced that no directions is required to be issued in the matter and the complaint and grievance raised by the petitioner appears to be misplaced." 

This matter came up for hearing before Supreme Court’s bench of the Chief Justice T. S Thakur and Justice Amitava Roy on 27th November, 2015. It was mentioned before the bench of Chief Justice and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit on 3rd March, 2016.  The matter was listed for hearing on 18th March, 2016. The Court’s website shows that the case was disposed on 18th March.

The petition was filed against State of Gujarat, District Collector, Kutch, Mundra Port and SEZ, Adani Power Limited and others  because of the continuous and wilful activities of the Respondent Companies in the Mundra coastal region which includes Coastal Regulation Zone area and “Reserved Forests” of mangrove trees are leading to large scale ecological imbalance in the area including destruction of mangrove forests, blocking and drying of creeks, salinity ingress into ground water, fly ash mismanagement and consequent hazards, loss of agricultural yield and significant health risks in the surrounding population.

It was filed because the SEZ and the 4 ports and the thermal power station of Adani company were granted conditional environmental clearances whereas these conditions were never met thereby leading to gross ecological imbalance in the reserved forests of  mangroves and in the Coastal Regulation Zone.  

It was filed because these conditional environmental clearances were revocable on the conditions not being met by the companies in question. The activities of the Respondent Companies include operating from the thermal power plant built on one arm of the Siracha river, hence, blocking the flow of the river, dredging and reclamation of coastal and forest land by use of various heavy machinery and manpower, use of Kachcha Channel and Kachcha Pond for drawing sea water, thereby, causing excessive salinity ingress into the ground water, disposal of fly ash (a residue produced from thermal power plant) in the open area and on village roads, thus, leading to fly ash mismanagement and related hazards, and bunding and filling of creeks for land reclamation.

The petition prayed for grant of the Special Leave to Appeal against the final order and judgment dated 17th April, 2015 in Writ Petition (PIL) No. 12 of 2011 passed by the High Court of Gujarat. The petition sought relief in terms of ror revocation of conditional environmental clearance issued vide letter No. J-13011/7/2007-IA-II(T) dated 13.08.2007, letter No. 10-94/2007-IA-III dated 29.05.2008, letter No.10-47/2008-IA-III dated 12.01.2009,  Addendum dated 19.01.2009, letter No.J 13012/126/2008-IA-II(T) dated 20.05.2010 and all other conditional clearances granted to Mundra Port and SEZ and Adani Power Limited for project activities in Mundra coastal region.

Naran Bharu Seda Gadhvi, the petitioner informed ToxicsWatch Alliance that the Court said that the matter requires to be looked into by the High Court or National Green Tribunal. Given the fact that Court’s order is still awaited there is lack of clarity as to what is the next course of action for the petitioner. The record of proceedings mentions Shodika and Satya Mitra as the advocates for the petitioner. The petitioner informed that Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves argued his case on 18th March in the apex court.     






Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 comes into force from 28th March

Written By Gopal Krishna on Friday, April 01, 2016 | 2:21 AM

Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the 37 page long Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 came into force from 28th March, 2016 in supersession of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. 

The rules apply to all persons who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose, or handle bio medical waste in any form including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological laboratories, blood banks, ayush hospitals, clinical establishments, research or educational institutions, health camps, medical or surgical camps, vaccination camps, blood donation camps, first aid rooms of schools, forensic laboratories and research labs.

These rules do not apply to radioactive wastes as covered under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962(33 of 1962) and the rules made there under; hazardous chemicals covered under the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989 made under the Act; solid wastes covered under the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 made under the Act; the lead acid batteries covered under the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 made under the Act; hazardous wastes covered under the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 made under the Act; waste covered under the e-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 made under the Act; and hazardous micro organisms, genetically engineered micro organisms and cells covered under the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Micro organisms or Cells Rules, 1989 made under the Act.

The reference to the “e-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011” shows that e-waste (Management) Rules, 2015 has not been factored in.

As per the Rules the "bio-medical waste" means any waste, which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human beings or animals or research activities pertaining thereto or in the
production or testing of biological or in health camps, including the categories mentioned in
Schedule I appended to these rules.

The Rules provides for “phase out use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years from the date of notification of these rules”. It prohibits mixing of treated bio-medical waste with municipal solid waste.

It provides for ensure treatment and disposal of liquid waste in accordance with the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

It provides for maintenance of all record for operation of incineration, hydro or autoclaving etc., for a period of five years. It provides that existing incinerators should “achieve the standards for treatment and disposal of bio-medical waste as specified in Schedule II for retention time in secondary chamber and Dioxin and Furans within two years from the date of this notification.”

Clause 7 of the Rules 7 deals with Treatment and disposal of biomedical waste. Bio-medical waste shall be treated and disposed of in accordance with Schedule I, and in compliance with the standards provided in Schedule-II by the health care facilities and common bio-medical waste treatment facility. Occupier shall hand over segregated waste as per the Schedule-I to common bio-medical waste treatment facility for treatment, processing and final disposal: Provided that the lab and highly infectious bio-medical waste generated shall be pre-treated by equipment like autoclave or microwave. No occupier shall establish on-site treatment and disposal facility, if a service of ` common biomedical waste treatment facility is available at a distance of seventy-five kilometer. In cases where service of the common bio-medical waste treatment facility is not available, the Occupiers shall set up requisite biomedical waste treatment equipment like incinerator, autoclave or microwave, shredder prior to commencement of its operation, as per the authorisation given by the prescribed authority.

Any person including an occupier or operator of a common bio medical waste treatment facility, intending to use new technologies for treatment of bio medical waste other than those listed in Schedule I shall request the Central Government for laying down the standards or operating parameters. On receipt of a request referred to in sub-rule (5), the Central Government may determine the standards and operating parameters for new technology which may be published in Gazette by the Central Government. Every operator of common bio-medical waste treatment facility shall set up requisite biomedical waste treatment equipments like incinerator, autoclave or microwave, shredder and effluent treatment plant as a part of treatment, prior to commencement of its operation. Every occupier shall phase out use of non-chlorinated plastic bags within two years from the date of publication of these rules and after two years from such publication of these rules, the chlorinated plastic bags shall not be used for storing and transporting of bio-medical waste and the occupier or operator of a common bio-medical waste treatment facility shall not dispose of such plastics by incineration and the bags used for storing and transporting biomedical waste shall be in compliance with the Bureau of Indian Standards. Till the Standards are published, the carry bags shall be as per the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2011. After ensuring treatment by autoclaving or microwaving followed by mutilation or shredding, whichever is applicable, the recyclables from the treated bio-medical wastes such as plastics and glass shall be given to such recyclers having valid authorisation or registration from the respective prescribed authority. The Occupier or Operator of a common bio-medical waste treatment facility shall maintain a record of recyclable wastes referred to in sub-rule (9) which are auctioned or sold and the same shall be submitted to the prescribed authority as part of its annual report. The record shall be open for inspection by the prescribed authorities.  The handling and disposal of all the mercury waste and lead waste shall be in accordance with the respective rules and regulations.
  
Clause 17 deals with the “Site for common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility”. It provides that Without prejudice to rule 5 of these rules, the department in the business allocation of land assignment shall be responsible for providing suitable site for setting up of common biomedical waste treatment and disposal facility in the State Government or Union territory Administration. The selection of site for setting up of such facility shall be made in consultation with the prescribed authority, other stakeholders and in accordance with guidelines published by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change or Central Pollution Control Board.

Clause 18 of the Rules deals with ‘Liability of the occupier, operator of a facility’. The occupier or an operator of a common bio-medical waste treatment facility shall be liable for all the damages caused to the environment or the public due to improper handling of bio- medical wastes. The occupier or operator of common bio-medical waste treatment facility shall be liable for action under section 5 and section 15 of the Act, in case of any violation.

Schedule I read with rules 3 (e), 4(b), 7(1), 7(2), 7(5), 7 (6) and 8(2) Part-1 deals with Biomedical wastes
categories and their segregation, collection, treatment, processing and disposal options.

The Rule states, “Disposal by deep burial is permitted only in rural or remote areas where there is no access to common bio-medical waste treatment facility. This will be carried out with prior approval from the prescribed authority and as per the Standards specified in Schedule-III. The deep burial facility shall be located as per the provisions and guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board from time to time.” There is an urgent need to undertake environmental health impact of such practices undertaken in the past to decide whether such permissions are reasonable and sane.

Schedule II read with Rule 4(t), 7(1) and 7(6)] Standards for treatment and disposal of bio-medical wastes. Among other aspects it provides Standards for Incineration. It provides that minimum stack height shall be 30 meters above the ground and shall be attached with the necessary monitoring facilities as per requirement of monitoring of ‘general parameters’ as notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and in accordance with the Central Pollution Control Board Guidelines of Emission Regulation Part-III.

At page 19 of the Rules it provides that “The ash or vitrified material generated from the ‘Plasma
Pyrolysis or Gasification shall be disposed off in accordance with the Hazardous Waste (Management,
Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules 2008 and revisions made thereafter in case the constituents exceed the limits prescribed under Schedule II of the said Rules or else in accordance with
the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, whichever is applicable.”

The Rules states that “Medical waste shall not be considered as properly treated unless the time, temperature and pressure indicators indicate that the required time, temperature and pressure were reached during the autoclave process. If for any reasons, time temperature or pressure indicator indicates that the required temperature, pressure or residence time was not reached, the entire load of medical waste must be autoclaved again until the proper temperature, pressure and residence time were achieved.”

It states that microwave treatment shall not be used for cytotoxic, hazardous or radioactive wastes,
contaminated animal carcasses, body parts and large metal items.

It provides that for deep burial “A pit or trench should be dug about two meters deep. It should be half filled with waste, then covered with lime within 50 cm of the surface, before filling the rest of the pit with soil.”

Schedule III read with Rule 6 and 9(3)] provides List of Prescribed Authorities and the Corresponding Duties.

Besides Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change it provides the authorities and duties of Central or State Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Central Ministry for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary or State Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, Ministry of Defence, Central Pollution Control Board, “State Government of Health or Union Territory Government or Administration”, State Pollution Control Boards or Pollution Control Committees, Municipalities or Corporations, Urban Local Bodies and Gram Panchayats.

The reference to “State Government of Health or Union Territory Government or Administration” shows a proofing error in the drafting.   

Schedule IV read with Rule 8(3) and (5)] Part A provides “Label for bio-medical waste containers or bags” and Part B deal with “Label for transporting bio-medical waste bags or containers.” There are five forms dealing with accident reporting, application for authorisation or renewal of authorization to be submitted by occupier of health care facility or common bio-medical waste treatment facility, authorisation for operating a facility for generation, collection, reception, treatment, storage, transport
and disposal of biomedical wastes, Annual Report to be submitted to the prescribed authority on or before 30th June every year for the period from January to December of the preceding year, by the occupier of health care facility (HCF) or common bio-medical waste treatment facility (CBWTF) and Application for filing appeal against order passed by the prescribed authority.







Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules comes into force

As per Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 "construction and demolition waste" means the waste comprising of building materials, debris and rubble resulting from construction, re-modeling, repair and demolition of any civil structure. 
The Rules define “waste generator” as any person or association of persons or institution, residential and commercial establishments including Indian Railways, Airport, Port and Harbour and Defence establishments who undertakes construction of or demolition of any civil structure which generate construction and demolition waste. 

The Rules provides that "Every waste generator shall pay relevant charges for collection, transportation, processing and disposal as notified by the concerned authorities; Waste generators who generate more than 20 tons or more in one day or 300 tons per project in a month shall have to pay for the processing and disposal of construction and demolition waste generated by them, apart from the payment for storage, collection and transportation. The rate shall be fixed by the concerned local authority or any other authority designated by the State Government."

As per the Rules, the service providers shall prepare within six months from the date of notification of these rules, a comprehensive waste management plan covering segregation, storage, collection, reuse, recycling, transportation and disposal of construction and demolition waste generated within their jurisdiction. The service providers shall remove all construction and demolition waste and clean the area every day, if possible, or depending upon the duration of the work, the quantity and type of waste generated, appropriate storage and collection, a reasonable timeframe shall be worked out in consultation with the concerned local authority.

The Bureau of Indian Standards and Indian Roads Congress has been made responsible for preparation of code of practices and standards for use of recycled materials and products of construction and demolition waste in respect of construction activities and the role of Indian Road Congress shall be specific to the standards and practices pertaining to construction of roads.

The Ministry of Urban Development, and the Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Panchayat Raj, shall be responsible for facilitating local bodies in compliance of these rules.

In case of any accident during construction and demolition waste processing or treatment or disposal facility, the officer in charge of the facility in the local authority or the operator of the facility shall report of the accident in Form-V to the local authority. Local body shall review and issue instruction if any, to the incharge of the facility.

The concerned department in the State Government dealing with land shall be responsible for providing suitable sites for setting up of the storage, processing and recycling facilities for construction and demolition and hand over the sites to the concerned local authority for development, operation and maintenance, which shall ultimately be given to the operators by Competent Authority and wherever above Authority is not available, shall lie with the concerned local authority. 

Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules came into force on 29th March,  2016.  The same is available at

New E-waste Management Rules 2016 to come into force from 1st October 2016

The 42 page long new E-waste Management Rules 2016 applies to every manufacturer, producer, consumer, bulk consumer, collection centres, dealers, e-retailer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler involved in manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, collection, storage and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment listed in Schedule I, including their components, consumables, parts and spares which make the product operational. It was notified on 23rd March , 2016. It shall come into force from the 1st day of October, 2016.

It does not apply to used lead acid batteries as covered under the Batteries (Management and
Handling) Rules, 2001 made under the Act; micro enterprises as defined in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (27 of 2006); and radio-active wastes as covered under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) and rules made there under. 

Clause 16 of the Rules provides "Every producer of electrical and electronic equipment and their components or consumables or parts or spares listed in Schedule I shall ensure that, new Electrical and Electronic Equipment and their components or consumables or parts or spares do not contain Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers beyond a maximum concentration value of 0.1% by weight in homogenous materials for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers and of 0.01% by weight in homogenous materials for cadmium."

As per the Rules 'environmentally sound management of e-waste' means taking al
l steps required to ensure that e-waste is managed in a manner which shall protect health and environment against any adverse effects, which may result from such e-waste.

The Rules define 'e-waste' as electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part discarded
as waste by the consumer or bulk consumer as well as rejects from manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes.

It defines ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ as responsibility of any producer of electrical or electronic equipment, for channelisation of e-waste to ensure environmentally sound management of such waste. Extended Producer Responsibility may comprise of implementing take back system or setting up of collection centres or both and having agreed arrangements with authorised dismantler or recycler either individually or collectively through a Producer Responsibility Organisation recognised by producer or producers in their Extended Producer Responsibility - Authorisation. 

 
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