Waste management laws must empower industry, rather than stifle them

Waste management laws must empower industry, rather than stifle them

Hazardous waste can be better managed by empowering industries through self-regulation and self-certification, rather than by creating multiple laws

December 21, 2016: “The primary responsibility of the generator of hazardous waste is to prevent the generation of the same. If one cannot prevent the generation, the generator must minimize hazardous waste. If minimization is not possible, one must try to reuse and recycle the waste. Disposal of waste should be the last option when minimization, reuse and recycle are not possible. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is willing to work with industry for effective implementation of The Hazardous and Other Wastes Rules 2016,” said Mr. Nandkumar Namdev Gurav, Regional Officer, Technical, MPCB at aWorkshop on Hazardous Waste Management Challenges, Prospects and Strategies. The workshop was organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with All India Association of Industries (AIAI), and supported by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and World Trade Centre Mumbai. The event was sponsored by India’s leading waste management firm Geocycle India.

The key feature of the 2016 rules is that government can give authorization to occupier of hazardous waste only after conducting proper field inspection on the adequacy of the facility. The 2016 rules also have detailed provisions on the responsibility of the occupier, informed Mr. Gurav.

Dr. N.J. Singh, Whole Time Director (EHS), DCM Shriram pointed out that India is the first country to introduce constitutional provision to protect environment in July 1989. He alarmed that hazardous waste management is crucial for the sustainability of the society as even if a miniscule part of such waste leaks into water bodies or air, it could cause irreversible damage to environment, human and animal health. The new rules of 2016 aims to make India self-sufficient in hazardous waste management, Dr. Singh mentioned. The industry must take appropriate precautions in dumping and processing of hazardous waste.

Mr. Ulhas V. Parlikar, Dy. Head – Geocycle India informed the audience about co-processing which has emerged as a sustainable and viable business model for cement manufacturers in managing hazardous waste. Mr. Parlikar remarked that the rules of 2016 have shifted the focus from the principle of disposal to the principle of sustainable management and utilization of hazardous waste. Generators of hazardous waste must respect the waste by recycling the same, instead of disposing it, he opined. Mr. Parlikar also explained the benefits of recycling all kinds of hazardous waste generated by different industries. He said India is moving towards a circular economy (which recycles waste) from a linear economy (which discards waste).

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, AIAI and Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai said, “Government must tackle the menace of hazardous waste through minimal legislation, effective implementation and frequent interaction with industry. Policy makers must do away with the multiple waste management legislations which only kill the spirit of entrepreneurs. There is huge business opportunity in this sector as there are around 13.5 million industrial units who handle hazardous waste in the country. The government must empower industry by allowing them to undertake self-certification, self-regulation and also enabling them to create awareness on hazardous waste management. The amount spent by the industry on management of hazardous waste must be considered under the mandatory CSR spending. Industry can spend this amount through pollution control boards. The local bodies must work in co-ordination with industry bodies for sustainable hazardous waste management. ”

The workshop was also addressed by eminent experts such as Dr. A. N. Vaidya, Chief Scientist and Head – Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Division, CSIR-NEERI, Mr. Sunil Ojha, Manager, Environment & Health, Ramboll India, Dr. C. Srinivas, Adjunct Faculty, SIES, Mr. Somnath Malgar, Head, Mumbai Waste management Ltd.

Ms. Kanchan Zutshi, Joint Secretary, PHD Chamber of Commerce proposed the vote of thanks for the event.

The session was followed by a field visit to the hazardous waste management plant of Mumbai Waste management Ltd at MIDC Taloja, Navi Mumbai.

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Caption (L to R): Dr. C. Srinivas, Adjunct Faculty, SIES, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, AIAI and Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai, Mr. Nandkumar Namdev Gurav, Regional Officer, Technical, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Dr. N. J. Singh, Whole Time Director (EHS), DCM Shriram Ltd., Mr. Ulhas V. Parlikar, Dy. Head – Geocycle India, ACC Ltd, Dr. A.N. Vaidya, Chief Scientist and Head, Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Division, CSIR-NEERI