Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Sunday released the Hazardous Waste Rules 2016 to distinguish hazardous waste from other wastes.

Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said, "The new rules will ensure resource recovery and disposal of hazardous waste in environmentally sound manner. The rules are environment and industry- friendly."

"The provisions of the new rules are in line with this Government's priority for Ease of Doing Business and Make in India, but with responsible concerns for sustainable development," said Javadekar.

The Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules 2016 includes other waste as well; waste management hierarchy in the sequence of priority of prevention, minimisation, reuse, recycling, recovery, co-processing; and safe disposal.

Under the rule all forms 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, while 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 have been exempted from the need of obtaining the 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 Governments for environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes have been introduced, which includes setting up/ allotting industrial space or sheds for recycling, pre-processing and other utilisation of hazardous or other waste; to register the workers involved in recycling, pre-processing and other utilisation activities; to form groups of workers to facilitate setting up such facilities; and to undertake industrial skill development activities and ensure safety and health of workers.

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.

Other wastes include waste tyre, paper waste, metal scrap, used electronic items, etc. and are recognised as a resource for recycling and reuse. These resources supplement the industrial processes and reduce the load on the virgin resource of the country.

As per the information furnished by CPCB in the year 2015, a total hazardous waste generation in the country is 7.46 million metric tonnes per annum from about 44,000 industries.

Source: April 4, 2016, The Times of India