The most certain side-effect of increased industrial development and progress is the production of waste. Areas with high number of factories generate more waste materials than residential areas. After the onset of industrialization, streets of England were drowning in filth and waste due to lack of waste management system. Ergo, it became essential to properly manage the large amount of waste to keep the city free of viruses and flu caused by waste materials.
Today’s scenario is no different. Each year millions of tonnes of waste come out of factories from around the world. The term is vast and includes the waste generated during extraction of resources, processing them to final product and their consumption. If this waste is not properly disposed, then we open the doors to various forms of harmful diseases, many fatal as well, and further degradation of environment.
In order to prevent increased levels of accumulated waste, India enforced the National Environment Policy 2006. It suggested measures for controlling forms of environment pollution, set proper channels for collection, treatment systems for recycling product, and plans for safe disposal.
The principles of the Policy are based on the concept of sustainable development, precaution and the fact that polluter pays for the harm caused. It ensures that people, namely polluters are held accountable for their actions and hazardous waste is dealt with responsibility. Breach of rules ensures penalty such as imprisonment of person-in-charge up to 5 years and/or monetary fine.
Some of the rules drawn are:
“1. Management and Handling of Bio-medical waste, 1998”
Any waste generated in healthcare procedures like diagnosis, treatment or immunisation, must follow effective methods of disposal. The rule is followed by many institutions such as hospitals, clinics, animal houses, pathological labs, dispensaries etc. The waste must be handled in a way that does not cause adverse effects to human health and environment, and disposed off according to set standards.
“2. Management and Handling of E-Waste rule, 2011”
It governs the disposal, import and recycling of e-waste. The rule applies to every producer and consumer. E-waste is defined as useless electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part. The producer is responsible for collecting e-waste, setting-up collection centres and financing recycling costs.
“3. Management and Handling of Plastic Waste, 2011”
It sets up a framework that regulates production, usage and recycling of plastic bags to ensure proper management. Plastic waste is any product made of plastic such as carry bags, containers that have been discarded. It is applicable to all manufacturers, distributors and users of plastic products. No retailer is allowed to sell plastic carry bags free of cost, to ensure price for plastic usage is paid. Rules also dictate characteristics like colour, thickness, classification into recyclable or compostable or virgin plastics.
“4. Management and Handling of Batteries rule, 2001”
A regulatory apparatus for dealing in and disposal of used lead acid batteries and their various components. It applies to every manufacturer, assembler, dealer and consumer since batteries could be harmful in nature. They further degrade the environment. All batteries are to be recycled in accordance to guidelines provided by the Policy.
People too can, at their own level, help in reducing the waste produced by adopting the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. By following certain steps, the total waste produced can be reduced drastically, giving the environment a chance to mend.