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'We don't want to export toxic waste to India'

Written By mediavigil on Friday, August 22, 2008 | 8:13 AM

As inspector general for international enforcement and cooperation of the ministry of environment, spatial planning and housing (VROM) in the Netherlands and co-chair of the international network for environmental compliance and enforcement, Gerard Wolters is seeking cooperation with authorities in India to better regulate and control trade in waste. He spoke to Narayani Ganesh:

Why is the Netherlands exercised about the international waste trade?

In its capacity as inspector and enforcer, the environment ministry is also concerned with the control of trans-boundary movements of waste that pass through Rotterdam Port, mostly from the European Union. The waste that leaves Rotterdam, the outgoing waste, is important for us because the policy in the Netherlands is to follow international and national rules governing waste.

India is a priority because two million tonnes of waste are shipped to India every year via Rotterdam. Of this, some 200,000 tonnes originate from the Netherlands. The Netherlands does not want to export toxic waste to countries like India in the name of recycling. Sometimes we can't see where the waste is going, it's simply not under our control. So we are seeking the cooperation of authorities in India to tackle any irregularities that might occur.

Ships containing hazardous material have set sail from Europe for India's ship-breaking yards.

Not from Rotterdam. But there is no proof if these ships carry cargo that they offload elsewhere and then they proceed to the ship-breaking destination. The EU forbids export of hazardous chemical waste to non-OECD countries. There is no export of hazardous waste from Rotterdam even if it originates in countries other than the EU. Para 49 of the new European waste shipment regulation lays down strict guidelines and so it is our duty to ensure that waste is treated in an environmentally friendly manner and that there are no irregularities.

According to the Basel Convention Treaty, we are not allowed to export chemical waste.

Often, e-waste is sent to India as second-hand goods.

That's why inspection is carried out. Some are even classified as scrap, so we do stop them when we are certain. E-waste is partly hazardous, if it has circuit boards that are not on the green list. As regards export of waste to India, there are procedures to be followed. There are certain conditions and often we need to check these out with authorities in India. As a fast-developing country, India requires a great deal of raw materials and it is good that India sources a lot of them through recycling.

India can specify what it requires by way of permitting materials for onward shipment and VROM in turn will ensure that it is enforced. For instance, Hong Kong bans second-hand electronics. China has banned e-waste.

22 Aug 2008
The Times of India

Schemes to Dispose Industrial Hazardous Waste

Rs.2 Crores Grant To Set Up TSDF On Public Private Partnership

August 17, 2008, PIB Release, Ministry of Environment and Forests

Financial assistance is given for setting up this Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs). to dispose hazardous waste in the country. This scheme has been formulated for disposal of waste from industries which is harmful to environment. Under this scheme, the Ministry of Environment & Forests provides a grant to the tune of Rs.2 crores with a proportionate contribution from the State Government for setting up of TSDF on a Public Private Partnership involving the Central and State Government and a private enterprise through Build Operate Own (BOO) principle.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests have notified the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 as amended in 2000 and 2003 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. These rules regulate the collection, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal, import and export of hazardous wastes listed in the Schedules annexed to these rules. As per the provisions under these rules, the industries are required to treat and dispose the hazardous waste in an environmentally sound manner.

The import of hazardous wastes is regulated under rules 11 to 14 of the said rules. According to these rules, any hazardous waste containing or contaminated with the hazardous waste categories listed in Schedule 8 of these rules is also prohibited for imports.

However, imports of hazardous wastes listed in Schedules 3 and 4 of the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules as amended in 2003, is permitted into the country for recycling and reprocessing only on a case by case basis. The import of hazardous waste is also regulated under the Export Import Policy of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The recycling and reprocessing of hazardous wastes is allowed to be carried out only by the units registered as recyclers with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and having environmentally sound management facilities for recycling such wastes. The registered recyclers recycle both the indigenously generated as well as the imported hazardous waste.

The Government of India is a Party to the Basel Convention on Control of Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal which is the International Treaty for regulating the trans-boundary movement of such wastes. The Government of India has ratified the same in 1992. The trans-boundary movement (import and export) of hazardous wastes is also regulated under this Convention requiring a prior consent in writing from the importing country for handling such waste in an environmentally sound manner.
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