Hyderabad: The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, a Central law which came into effect in March, remains on paper while the environment continues to choke with plastic waste due to the failure of the GHMC and Telangana State PCB to enforce it.
The law was brought in place of an earlier law, the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, to minimise plastic waste.
An important aspect of the 2016 law is the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) concept. The law says, “The primary responsibility for the collection of used plastic packaging rests with producers who introduce it in market.”
It also makes it mandatory for plastic manufacturers to submit how they plan to conduct EPR while applying for Consent for Establishment or its renewal to TSPCB. The EPR has to be developed with help from the local body.
However, it was found that neither officials of the TSPCB nor GHMC have a clue about EPR. No EPR has been developed till now for plastic manufacturers even though as per law it had to be developed in six months since the law came into force on March 18. EPR has proven useful in Europe in reducing plastic waste.
Another important aspect of the law is that it bans plastic bags below 50 microns. While plastic bags below the prescribed limits are being openly sold in Hyderabad, TSPCB officials said that there are no manufacturers of below 50 micron plastic in Telangana. The GHMC’s responsibility is to penalise those who use or sell such plastic bags but it is not doing so.
The 2016 plastic waste management rules apply not just to municipalities like the 2011 version but also to panchayats and one of the responsibilities is to prevent open burning of plastic. But the rules are being ignored in Hyderabad and in villages....