Archive for the ‘Environment/Ecology’ Category

Solid waste management is a major problem across India as untreated waste disposed in the open has led to water pollution and clogged sewer systems. As per official estimates, at present around 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year. But only 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 million tonnes is treated. Projections point to about 165 Million tonnes of waste being generated by 2030. Such will be the extent of waste generation and challenge to manage it but  New rules implementation can make this process sustainable. Some important rules are as follows:

Solid Waste Management Rules 2016:

  1. Manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers will now on have to provide separate pouches along with the products for their better disposal.
  2. Important stakeholders identified:The Ambit of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, has been expanded beyond municipal corporations to include railways stations, Industrial Townships, airports, ports etc. This is expected to bring an estimated 450 million people under the rules as compared to the earlier 150 million.
  3. Segregation of waste:All waste generators have to segregate and  store the waste generated by them under three separate categories – bio degradable, non-bio-degradable and domestic hazardous waste- in suitable bins before handing it over to authorised rag pickers or waste collectors.
  4. Emphasis on user fee:According to the new rules Local bodies can charge a certain fee from generators for proper management of such waste  while provisions have been included for spot fine for littering at public places.
  5. Waste processing facilities will have to be set up within two years by all local bodies having a population of 1 million or more.
  6. Informal sectors acknowledged:Rules also have provision for integration of rag pickers and waste dealers in to the formal system through facilitation by state government.
  7. Burning of solid waste and  biomass  a common practice has been categorically  prohibited and will be dealt according to the provisions of Environment protection Act
  8. New rules will also oblige the organiser of an event or gathering of more than 100 person at any licensed or unlicensed place to ensure segregation of waste at the source and  its handing over to the waste collector.
  9. Decentralised treatment options:New township and  group housing societies have been made responsible for developing in house waste handling and processing arrangements for biodegradable waste. The developers of SEZ and industrial estate and parks will also have to earmark at least 5% of the total area of plot for recovery and recycling facility.
  10. On monitoring and implementation of the new waste rules a cell has been formed within the ministry to oversee the progress.

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E- Waste is the major issue for India because of following reasons

According to the Rajyasabha Secretariat study, e-waste account for 70% of Indian landfills. Organic   and easily recyclable metal, glass and plastic waste need not permanently remain in landfills. But hard to recover substances  from e waste like mercury make their home in landfills and keep leaching into ground water.

India accounts for 4% of global e-waste and just 2.5% of global GDP(2014 figure)so it has higher share of e-waste than its share of GDP. India, which has emerged as the world’s second largest market, is also the 5th largest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh  tonnes of electronic waste each year. Telecom equipment alone accounts for 12% of the e-waste.

In recent time e-waste has grown faster than earlier anticipated. The Green peace study found e-waste growing at 15% annually and projected it to go up to 800000 tonnes by 2012. But it stood at 1.7 million tonnes in 2014, the fifth highest in the world according to UN study.

Taking note of above situation govt has notified fresh rules to govern the handling electronics waste. Some important rules as follows:

The new rules have brought producers of electronics goods under ‘extended producer responsibility’, making them liable for collection and exchange of e-waste with targets. Producers obligation will go up from 30% in first year to 70% in 7th year. A 2005 Greenpeace survey shows that before the law stepped in only two Indian producers HCL and Wipro had any kind  of take back mechanism in place.

To make producers easier to follow , the new rules require players in the e-waste life cycle to register with just the Central Pollution Control Board and not have to go through individual state pollution control boards.

A big responsibility has been placed on the shoulders of state government. Later this year, when the rules come into effect, state will have to set up e-waste dismantling and recycling units in industrial park as well as register the workers involved with the e-waste business and finally, take up industrial skill development activities and ensure health and safety of workers.

The new norms include fines, a greater involvement of states in policing and collection as well as bringing exhausted compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and other mercury-containing lamps in to the purview of electronic waste.

Why Previous Attempt failed: 

The existing e-waste management rules, instituted in 2011, had bound manufacturers by extended producer responsibility (EPR) to channelize the hazardous e-waste to registered recyclers. But, the lack of clarity on who was responsible for collecting such waste led to loose implementation of EPR rules.

The current laws (rules instituted in 2011) define what is to be done but had little incentive for the organised sector as the economies and paperwork makes it impossible to fight the unorganised.

Separate authorisation letters from the respective State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), which were necessary for setting up such collection centres earlier, have now been done away with. The complicated process, which had been cited by manufacturers as an excuse for low compliance

Urban solid waste management policy has focused on cleaning streets and transferring garbage to landfills, ignoring the legal obligation to segregate and recycle.


Setting up a PRO(Producer Responsibility Organisation) should indeed be a priority as it would enable the achievement of the objectives of the law at the least economic burden to the producers. However, the PRO was explicitly mentioned even in the Rules released four years ago. It remains to be seen whether the clear enunciation of recycling targets in the new Rules of 2016 will incentivise the producers to join hands to form a PRO.

In a large country e-waste management is a fragmented, unorganised business. Most small firms use crude methods to tackle metals such as copper and lead in their efforts to recycle. “What is needed is a number of recycling units closer to IT hubs and other locations, which can handle electronic waste

The success of the new rules will depend on incentivising such consumers to enter the formal recycling channel using the producer-operated buy-back scheme. They will come on board when the repurchase offer is better than that of the unorganised sector and a collection mechanism is available.

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Rural Development has assumed global attention , especially among the developing nations. A country like India where 70% of the people live in the rural areas have great significance. Several schemes were formulated after the independence. Of these, The Grow More Food Campaign (1949), Growth Centre Based Development, Rural Industries Project, Small Farmer Development Agency, Integrated Rural Development Programme are worth mentioning. Now, Govt. has started Centre of Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG), for the transfer of technology to rural areas with the help of NGOs. It is going on in Chennai, Guwahati, Kharagpur. As a result of these programmes there has indeed been development in the rural areas but considering the time lapse the progress has been rather insignificant.

The application of geology in the rural areas has not been fully realized. Regions like Bundelkhand and Purvanchal, where former faces frequent droughts and later recurrent floods, found to have abundant mineral resources which may create so many non farm activities to the people living in these areas that they will become less vulnerable to floods and droughts.  The geology of soil and water management can make them more secure. The soil can have staying qualities by the judicious use of mineral nutrients whereas the proper management of water will go a long way in controlling hazards of floods and drought. The application of geological knowledge can minimize even the disastrous effects of earthquakes, landslides, etc. to which the rural and urban terrains are equally prone.

It is estimated that about 30% by the rural areas are bestowed with minerals. Their minor deposits can be worked out with only simple machinery and small investments. They may give rise to the small scale industries owned by either individual or corporate bodies. these will decidedly help improve the standard of living of the rural masses.

Thus, a concerted, coordinated efforts from geologist  are required in proper management of the resources , which will enable us to lead our villages on the road of progress and prosperity. It is high time that during the formulization of policies aimed at rural development , the vital role of geology must be emphasized.

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