Hazardous waste means any waste, which by reason of characteristics, such as physical, chemical, biological, reactive, toxic, flammable, explosive or corrosive, causes danger to health, or environment. It comprises the waste generated during the manufacturing processes of the commercial products such as industries involved in petroleum refining, production of pharmaceuticals, petroleum, paint, aluminium, electronic products etc. As per the information furnished by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in the year 2015, the total hazardous waste generation in the country is 7.46 million metric tonnes per annum from about 44,000 industries.
Importance of Proper Hazardous Waste Management
Scientific disposal of hazardous waste through collection, storage, packaging, transportation and treatment, in an environmentally sound manner minimises the adverse impact on human health and on the environment. The hazardous waste can be disposed at captive treatment facility installed by the individual waste generators or at Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs). There are 40 Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) available in 17 States/UTs.
Hazardous waste such as lead acid battery scraps, used oil, waste oil, spent catalyst etc. and other waste such as waste tyres, paper waste, metal scrap etc. are used as raw material by the industries involved in recycling of such waste and as supplementary resource for material and energy recovery. Accordingly, it is always preferable to utilise such waste through recycling, or for resource recovery to avoid disposal through landfill or incineration. There are about 1080 registered recyclers; 47 cement plants permitted for co-processing; and about 108 industries permitted for utilisation of hazardous waste.
Problems of unscientific disposal of Hazardous and other waste
Unscientific disposal of hazardous and other waste through burning or incineration leads to emission of toxic fumes comprising of Dioxins & Furans, Mercury, heavy metals, causing air pollution and associated health-related problems. Disposal in water bodies, or in municipal dumps leads to toxic releases due to leaching in land and water entailing into degradation of soil and water quality. The workers employed in such unscientific practices suffer from neurological disorders, skin diseases, genetic defects, cancer etc.Hence, there is a need for systematic management of hazardous and other waste in an environmentally sound manner by way of prevention, minimisation, re-use, recycling, recovery, utilisation including co-processing and safe disposal of waste.
Hazardous Waste Management Rules 2016
For the first time, Rules have been made to distinguish between Hazardous Waste and other wastes. Other wastes include: Waste tyre, paper waste, metal scrap, used electronic items, etc. and are recognized as a resource for recycling and reuse. These resources supplement the industrial processes and reduce the load on the virgin resource of the country.
The salient features of Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 include the following:-
- The ambit of the Rules has been expanded by including ‘Other Waste’.
- Waste Management hierarchy in the sequence of priority of prevention, minimization, reuse, recycling, recovery, co-processing; and safe disposal has been incorporated.
- All the forms under the rules for permission, import/export, filing of annual returns, transportation, etc. have been revised significantly, indicating the stringent approach for management of such hazardous and other wastes with simultaneous simplification of procedure.
- The basic necessity of infrastructure to safeguard the health and environment from waste processing industry has been prescribed as Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs), specific to waste type, which has to be complied by the stakeholders and ensured by SPCB/PCC while granting such authorisation.
- Procedure has been simplified to merge all the approvals as a single window clearance for setting up of hazardous waste disposal facility and import of other wastes.
- Co-processing as preferential mechanism over disposal for use of waste as supplementary resource, or for recovery of energy has been provided.
- The approval process for co-processing of hazardous waste to recover energy has been streamlined and put on emission norms basis rather than on trial basis.
- The process of import/export of waste under the Rules has been streamlined by simplifying the document-based procedure and by revising the list of waste regulated for import/export.
- The import of metal scrap, paper waste and various categories of electrical and electronic equipments for re-use purpose has been exempted from the need of obtaining Ministry’s permission.
- The basic necessity of infrastructure to safeguard the health and environment from waste processing industry has been prescribed as Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) specific to waste type.
- Responsibilities of State Government for environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes have been introduced as follows:
- To set up/ allot industrial space or sheds for recycling, pre-processing and other utilization of hazardous or other waste.
- To register the workers involved in recycling, pre-processing and other utilization activities.
- To form groups of workers to facilitate setting up such facilities.
- To undertake industrial skill development activities and ensure safety and health of workers.
- List of processes generating hazardous wastes has been reviewed taking into account technological evolution in the industries.
- List of Waste Constituents with Concentration Limits has been revised as per international standard and drinking water standard.
The following items have been prohibited for import:
- Waste edible fats and oil of animals, or vegetable origin;
- Household waste;
- Critical Care Medical equipment;
- Tyres for direct re-use purpose;
- Solid Plastic wastes including Pet bottles;
- Waste electrical and electronic assemblies scrap;
- Other chemical wastes especially in solvent form.
- State Government is authorized to prepare integrated plan for effective implementation of these provisions, and have to submit annual report to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) is mandated to prepare an annual inventory of the waste generated; waste recycled, recovered, utilised including co-processed; waste re-exported and waste disposed and submit to the Central Pollution Control Board by the 30th day of September every year.
Source : PIB
- Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016