The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to show reasons for its coercive steps against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for non-compliance of plastic waste management rules.
The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the report filed by the pollution monitoring body does not mention the coercive steps taken in accordance with provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and the plastic waste management rules. The prosecution, recovery of compensation on the ‘Polluter pays’ principle may be included under coercive steps, according to the NGT.
The bench asked for CPCB to file a report on the matter before 10th September 2020 through e-mail. It also stated that liability is of Amazon Seller Service Private Limited instead of Amazon Retail India Private Limited, which the CPCB may look into further. The CPCB had earlier told the NGT that Amazon did not submit complete documents related to the plastic consumption quantity. Flipkart has not responded to the communication of the CPCB. A plea was filed by Aditya Dubey, a 16-year old boy, through his advocate Meenesh Dubey, to stop e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart from excessive usage of plastic in their packaging. The submission was in response to this plea. The CPCB informed the tribunal that Amazon Retail India submitted the application for registration under the plastic waste management rules, 2018 to it on December 5, 2019, having Extended Producer Responsibility of collection and channelization of 0.5 TPA plastic waste. As per a letter dated 6th December 2019 M/s Instakart Services Private Limited informed that Flipkart Private Limited is their holding company registered in Singapore and M/s Instakart is engaged in the business of providing logistics and fulfillment services to group companies, the pollution monitoring body said. It also said that Flipkart Private Limited is required to submit an application for registration to CPCB directly or provide the documents supporting its link with Instakart Services Private Limited. The CPCB had earlier said to the NGT that the e-commerce giants need to fulfill their responsibility under plastic waste management rules, 2016, and need to establish a system to collect back the plastic waste generated from the packaging. It had also informed that as per the provisions 9(2) of the plastic waste management rules, 2016 the producers, importers, and brand owners have the primary responsibility of collecting the used multi-layered plastic sachets or pouches or packaging, who are introducing it to the market. The CPCB had said, “Amazon Retail India Private Limited and Flipkart Private limited are involved in packaging and selling of other companies’ products and thus introducing plastic packaging in the market. They are required to fulfill their extended producer responsibility under PWM Rules and should obtain registration as brand owners after submitting proper documents.” Aditya Dubey, through his legal guardian, has pleaded the NGT to direct Amazon and Flipkart to stop excessive use of plastic in packaging the goods delivered by the firms. The plea said that these companies are included under plastic waste management rules, 2016 but due to inefficient monitoring and implementations, the respondents continue using excessive plastic for packaging their sold items. Dubey’s plea also stated that the products are delivered in cardboard boxes which are much larger than the product inside. The delivery service though useful for the customers is giving rise to serious environmental challenges due to excessive plastic. The plea said that the companies have made no arrangements to recycle the plastic or collect it back from the customers.