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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

‘India sitting on plastic time bomb’

New Delhi: "We are sitting on a plastic time bomb," the Supreme Court said on Wednesday after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) informed it that India generates 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually, with Mumbai accounting for a staggering 408.27 tonnes a day. 

    The CPCB told the court that the "total plastic waste which is collected and recycled in the country is estimated to be 9,205 tonnes per day (approximately 60% of the total plastic waste) and 6,137 tonnes remain uncollected and littered". The four metros are major culprits in plastic waste generation, with Delhi producing 689.52 tonnes a day, followed by Chennai (429.39 tonnes), Kolkata (425.72 tonnes) and Mumbai. 
    The figures only serve to confirm the common sight of waste littering industrial, residential and slum areas across cities and towns. 
    A shocked court has asked civic authorities of five cities—Delhi, Ag
ra, Jaipur, Faridabad and Bangalore —to submit reports on the steps taken under relevant rules to contain dumping of plastic waste and implementation of the ban on gutka. 
    As 40% of plastic waste is not recycled, the daily addition to untreated plastic in Mumbai is estimated to be 163.2 tonnes, Delhi 275.6 tonnes, Chennai (171.6 tonnes) and Kolkata (170 tonnes). This waste is a source of continuing pollution as plastic is not biodegradable and poisons the environment for decades. 
    The pollution control board said a survey conducted across 60 major cities had found that 15,342.46 tonnes of plastic waste were generated every day, amounting to 56 lakh tonnes a year. Additional solicitor general Mohan Jain presented a worrying report on plastic waste management across the country.
Apext court suggests two-pronged way to deal with plastic waste 
New Delhi: Stunned by the Central Pollution Control Board's figures on plastic waste being produced in the country, the Supreme Court has called for prompt action. While additional solicitor general Mohan Jain presented a worrying report on plastic waste management, another additional solicitor general, Indira Jaising, painted an equally grim health scenario by informing the court that the ban on gutka and pan masala laced with tobacco had not been effective due to manufacturers beating the law and a lethargic state machinery compounding matters. 
    Responding to the situation, the SC felt the non-implementation of law due to abject "failure of governance at the grassroots level" could be countered by adopting a two-pronged strategy for effective implementation 
of plastic waste management and ban on gutka and pan masala mixed with chewing tobacco and nicotine. 
    Taking a cue from the CPCB's survey, it chose Delhi, Bangalore, Agra, Faridabad and Jaipur and asked the commissioners of their civic bodies to file affidavits within four weeks detailing the steps taken under the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000 and the Plastic Waste Rules, 2011 to dispose the waste in a safe place. "We have a habit of collecting garbage from cities and dumping them in villages. Representatives of villagers have stopped keeping themselves abreast with the problems arising from such dumping," the bench said. It also asked state pollution control boards and the CPCB to furnish the reports they have been mandated under the law as supervisors of plastic waste disposal by municipal bodies.

Mumbai produces 408 tonnes of plastic waste each day, and along with the other three metros accounts for almost 2,000 tonnes of waste churned out daily


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