Delhi city is condemned as the largest contributor of plastic waste among the metropolitan centres but ironically the city goes sans any bylaws for tackling such a mess.
This was on July 01, 2022, that 19 items made up of single-use plastic were banned and to supplement the cause, a widespread campaign was launched by our tireless MCD with the title “100 Days To Beat Plastic”.
But such a push against plastic appears to be lacking vitality as no proper regulations are in place for plastic waste management in Delhi city.
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Civil officials and those wielding expertise in the field unanimously opine so.
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GoI (Government of India) Introduces Rules:
This was in 2016 when the Indian government laid down rules about plastic waste management and made this a foundation, the urban development department of the Delhi government released the by-laws draft and the LG V K Saxena asked the MCD to publish the plastic waste management bylaws.
As for the draft, the MCD got the order on January 10, 2023, that says, “published with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor (referring to Saxena’s predecessor Anil Baijal) and after consultation with stakeholders, the final draft of plastic waste management bylaws was submitted for approval of LG”.
Still, we wait for the final bylaws.
An MCD official, who is a part of this affair claims that the process is hit by “legal complications”.
He shares, “We sought opinion from legal department and the act says that if any new fine or user charge is being enforced, the government of the state or the central government will have to notify it. We have decided to put it as a preamble in the house of councillors whenever the election is finalized”,
Interestingly, a 100 days campaign was organized in our city to beat the plastic that concluded on April 22nd, Saturday and the civic body impounded 14,164 kg plastic items and handed over 1596 challans too, while the latter was under the purview of insanitation and was not as per the established bylaws.
Another official stepped forward and disclosed, “current municipal waste management rules prescribe a fine of ₹500 for littering but the penalty under the draft bylaws goes up to ₹50,000 with responsibility fixed on producers and importers of plastic items.”
The problem of Plastic Waste Management Is Intense:
We have an institution Centre For Science And Environment (CSE) which, just last month, released “State of India’s Environment 2022” which establishes that our city produces 689.80 tonnes of plastic waste on a daily basis.
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CSE scanned the data put forth by the Central Pollution Control Board and uncovered the alarming fact about the enormous amount of plastic waste being generated.
The official added,” The draft bylaws treat single-use plastic items much more stringently. Moreover, they require all producers and distributors to mandatorily register with Delhi Pollution Control Committee within three months of notification and to maintain records of people engaged in the plastic waste supply chain.”
The Bylaws enjoin the practice of single-use plastic in gutka, tobacco and drinking water sachets no matter what size as well as packed water bottles of less than 1 litre.
Bharti Chaturvedi is yet another concerned mind who founded Chintan Environment Research and Action Group and she advocates higher penalties for the violators who simply go carefree.
She says, “We have seen very poor awareness campaigns being run by the agencies and that needs to change. The focus should be on the reuse economy. There are various ways of encouraging the reuse economy which is basically gone.”
Now we have Atin Biswas who is a champion in waste management and takes care of the solid waste sector in the CSE he stresses the responsibility of the municipality for the bylaws and for registering producers and importers and that this should go beyond the range of bylaws.
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He opined, “The bylaws are a part of third layer of legal instruments under the decentralisation envisaged under 74th amendment to the Constitution. This empowers local body and pollution boards to impose fines or ban certain products. Specific bylaws are a wonderful legal tool provided they are implemented well,”
He continued, “Most of the banned single-use plastic items are not branded so they cannot be linked to a particular manufacturer. Most of the manufacturing of such items occurs in informal industries. The source needs to be tackled. Multi-layered plastic which has low recycling value needs to be tackled for dealing with plastic waste and we need a more comprehensive communication strategy,”
Illegal Jeans Units To Be Shut In Delhi After NGT Flags Concerns:
In certain pockets of the city, especially in the North and Northwest, a handful of jeans dyeing units are running in residential areas and such is the act of law violation.
Now to shut these down, The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has asked MCD for pivotal assistance.
Such units are said to be without legal backing and also lack common effluent treatment plants which are necessary resulting in a heavy discharge of high amounts of phosphates and ammonia into the drains connected locally this leads the waste to Yamuna and we witness toxic foam forth up there.
In 2019, National Green Tribunal (NGT) wanted tough action against such workplaces.
Varun Gulati: The Fearless Challenger:
The role of activist Varun Gulati can hardly be sidelined he filed a plea in 2019 and also shared photographs showing a deluge of effluent released into the drains.
Now, DPCC turned to MCD for assistance as the former is not authorised to initiate any action as per the Master Plan of Delhi 2021.
The contents present in the complaint of Mr Gulati are self-explanatory.
Later, in some areas following his complaints, DPCC took some actions which got disrupted due to the pandemic outbreak.
Mr Gulati laments, “They resumed in 2021, but the DPCC, despite evidence of more units on the ground, is now refusing to take action in residential and non-conforming areas. These units have already been found to be a source of pollution in the river Yamuna as most of them do not possess effluent treatment plants.”
Officials claimed that they sealed 22 dyeing units in Bawana and Narela in August 2022 and also shut down 56 centres in Khayala and in the nearby areas.
Other than halting the operations, the DPCC also slapped them with EDC (environmental damage compensation).
As such, to evaluate the extent of damage caused by such units (jeans dyeing and manufacturing), which function in Delhi, DPCC invited a study through a tender in January. Environment news updates in India for a progressive society.
The study will be into water pollution and consumption by such units.
An MCD official disclosed, “The study is yet to be awarded. Once completed, we will know the exact impact of these dyeing units on the Yamuna.”
Now we have Mr Bhim Singh Rawat who is a Yamuna devotee and is associated with the Rivers and People (SANDRP) and he observes that numerous such units have been functional in residential areas as well as non-forming locations for many years now. North Delhi is especially dense with these. Environment news updates in India for a healthy nation.
He complains, “These units are releasing chemical toxins into the river and not only cause frothing but also posing a danger to the aquatic life,”
Well dear reader, we will keep you informed about the latest taking place in this leg, as the useful environment news updates in India are meant for all of us and this is the responsibility of all of all us to contribute our bit towards its improvement, especially the Delhiites.