Plastic Waste management - DTE - 30/12/22

An audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India was conducted for 2020-21, which included Central Public Sector Enterprises of Scientific and environmental ministries/departments. It aimed to assess the effectiveness and compliance of the provisions of Plastic Waste Management Rules to examine their adequacy in managing plastic waste. It also addressed the risks posed by plastic waste to the environment and health.
-->Challenges of plastic waste:
-Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are lost to the environment or sometimes shipped thousands of kilometres to destinations where it is mostly burned or dumped.
-If incinerated, its toxic compounds are spewed into the atmosphere to be accumulated in biotic forms throughout the surrounding ecosystems.
-When buried in a landfill, plastic lies untreated for years.
-In the process, toxic chemicals from plastics drain and seep into groundwater, flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.

->Issues with implementation:
-The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has mechanisms to assess the generation of plastic waste, but none for its collection and safe disposal.
-Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, could not be implemented effectively and efficiently due to a lack of an action plan by the MoEF&CC.
-The ministry did not have an action plan for the effective implementation of the three-pronged strategy for 2015-20
-The ministry is also lacking in effective coordination with pollution control boards.
-The ministry was also silent about the existence of a policy for plastic waste reduction, reuse and recycling.
-The preparation of a comprehensive action plan was initiated in May 2021 and is still underway.

->Suggestions for future:
-Waste collection, recycling, co-processing and its ultimate disposal in scientific and environment friendly manner are essential elements of plastic waste management system.
-A reliable assessment of waste generated is essential for planning and effective implementation of waste management, which can guide in decision-making.
-Accurate data of assessment of plastic waste is the first step towards effective policymaking,
-Implementing a sustainability tax on the packaging and carriage cost components of a given product.

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