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“Need to create an Adequate Funding Mechanism to Implement waste Regulations”: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: Emphasising the importance of documenting success stories in States that can be disseminated to other States across the country, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has stressed the need to create an adequate funding mechanism for implementing waste regulations, considering that one of the major issues faced by municipal corporations is the lack of financial resources.  Moderating the session on Waste to Wealth at the State Environment Ministers Conference here today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that Ministries, or State government departments work in silos while addressing the challenge of environmentally sound management of waste in the country.   “The issue is a multi-departmental and multi-disciplinary that can be addressed to a great extent by the effective implementation of the six rules”, he stated.

The Environment Minister encouraged the Secretaries of State Governments to coordinate with CSIR institutions and explore the use of indigenously developed waste technologies in addressing the challenges of waste management in India. He also urged the State Governments to encourage the citizens to adopt Green Good Deeds to solve the day-to-day waste management problem. It was concluded that a consistent monitoring mechanism needs to be developed in States to address the issue of waste management.  The importance of capacity-building of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) was highlighted with regard to the various provisions of Waste Management Rules, use of technologies and best waste management practices.

The session on Waste To Wealth was chaired by Minister of Environment & Forest, Rajasthan, Mr. Gajendra Singh.  Mr. Gajendra Singh highlighted that industrialization acts as a catalyst for creation of jobs, growth in per capita income, improvement of happiness index, but development also results in environmental challenges, such as generation of waste. Thus, there is a need to look at waste from a new perspective, which is to see waste as a resource.   Creating wealth out of waste is a win-win situation, as it helps use waste as raw material, which results in reduced dependency on virgin natural resources and relieves land requirement for landfill, and reduces landfill burden.

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Ritesh Kumar Singh, made a presentation on waste management, with a brief overview of the six waste management rules namely – Solid Wastes Management Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, Bio-medical Wastes Management Rules, 2016, Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movements) Rules, 2016, E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, and Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016. He explained that rapid urbanization of India has contributed to the problem of growing waste generation and its disposal.   He further elaborated the action points required from the State Governments under each of the rules such as preparation of a state policy and solid waste management strategy for the state or the union territory in consultation with stakeholders; development and setting up of infrastructure for segregation, collection, storage, transportation of plastic waste and channelization of recycled plastic waste fraction to recyclers with valid registration; Allocation of adequate funds to Government health care facilities for bio-medical waste management; Identification of site (s) for Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) for hazardous waste; undertake regular monitoring for ensuring safety & health of workers involved in dismantling and recycling. He further elucidated the major issues of waste management in India.

The presentation was followed by an open house discussion and suggestions from a number of representatives from States such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.  The discussion mainly centered around improving financing for waste disposal; delegation of powers to municipal officers for effective implementation of the rules, enforcement issues and promotion of use of plastic waste in road construction; strengthening municipal governance in the country for improved waste management; and developing regulations within Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) for improving waste segregation. It was also emphasized that implementation aspects of waste management Rules be integrated with Swachh Bharat Mission.

As per the Annual Review Report of Central Pollution Control Board for the 2014-15, the generation of municipal solid waste in 4002 urban local bodies is reported to be 1,41,064 Ton per day. Out of this, 90% is reported to be collected and 27% of the collected waste is treated. Approximately 25940 TPD of plastic waste is generated of which 60% is collected and processed/recycled. Biomedical waste, generation in India is approx 484 TPD, of which 90% is processed in various facilities. Further, approx 7.46 Million MTA of hazardous waste and 1.8 MT of E-waste is generated in the country.

The State Environment Ministers’ Conference was held today at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi as part of India’s celebration of the World Environment Day 2018.   Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, and Environment Ministers and senior officials from various state governments attended the session.

The Conference was conducted with the objective of providing a platform to policy makers to exchange ideas, share experiences, discuss challenges related to environmental regulation in the country and explore possible solutions.

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