New Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022 announced
Policy matters this fortnight
2 Mar 2022
Plastic waste is causing havoc on drains and water bodies (Image source: IWP Flickr Album)

Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022: Centre notifies guidelines on EPR for plastic packaging

The Environment Ministry has notified comprehensive guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging. The Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022 will provide a framework for strengthening the circular economy of plastic packaging waste and promoting alternatives to plastic.

Henceforth, while filing the annual returns, the producers, importers, and brand owners shall be required to provide details of recycling certificates only from registered recyclers, along with details of the quantity sent for end-of-life disposal. A centralised online registration portal has also been proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to verify details provided. Non-compliance with EPR entails the levying of environmental compensation on violators. (The Hindu)

Groundwater extraction rules: NGT notes Centre’s guidelines are an old scheme in a new cover

According to the National Green Tribunal, the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Jal Shakti on groundwater extraction are only a new cover provided to the old scheme with minor variations, alterations, and modifications.

Additionally, the NGT asserted that the new guidelines fail to address the root cause and central issue, which is protecting groundwater from further depletion and restoring it effectively.

Also, the new guidelines that left critical and semi-critical areas untouched have given drastic relaxation with regard to water intensive industries, as now only packaged water industries in over-exploited areas have to obtain a NOC even if they belong to the MSME category, while leaving all other water intensive industries untouched. The NGT further stated that continued laxity on the part of authorities, and in particular the Central Groundwater Authority, is a matter of serious concern. (The Print)

Respite for Panje wetland after NGT upholds its CRZ1 status

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has dismissed Cidco and NMSEZ's arguments against the wetland status of Panje wetland and has ruled that it falls under CRZ-1 and needs to be protected.

In April 2021, the tribunal directed Cidco and NMSEZ to open the intertidal water inlets to the wetlands that had been closed in 2020. Cidco and NMSEZ argue, however, that the wetland area was agricultural land and a parcel of developable land that was created as a holding pond for checking floods.

In addition, the former argued that the presence of mangroves did not qualify Panje as a wetland, and filed a petition for review. Nevertheless, the tribunal dismissed the contentions and confirmed the status of CRZ-1. (The Times of India)

Assam government approves river basin management among other announcements on agro-forestry and disaster mitigation

The Assam Cabinet has approved the phase I of World Bank-aided Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project. The project, worth US $ 83 million, involves work on integrated water management and flood/river erosion-related works at Burhidehing and Beki river basins. Along with this, the state cabinet has eased the agroforestry norms, and it will no longer be necessary to seek permission from the forest department when cutting trees of several species in non-forest areas such as private land or agricultural fields.

Additionally, the state has sanctioned Rs 158.4 crore for Disaster Risk Mitigation, which includes setting up 100 climate resilient villages and approximately 50 multipurpose flood shelters. The Water Resources Department will also be restructured to improve administrative efficiency. (The Print)

Bihar Water Resources Department has launched Drishti app to enhance real-time monitoring of projects

Water Resources Department of Bihar has launched a first of its kind mobile application called Drishti - Dedicated Reporting Information System to Handle & Track Inspection. The app is in addition to the e-office that was launched a day earlier with an aim to step up the modernisation of the department. The new app will allow inspecting officials to upload real-time updates about a specific project of the department and the e-office will aid in speeding up file approval.

Through the app, departmental projects will be accelerated and completed on time. It will also help in increasing the efficiency of engineers in monitoring projects, as well as bring transparency to the system and expedite projects. (The Times of India)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from February 16 – March 2, 2022. Also, read the news this fortnight.

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