While referring to the Recycled Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rule, 1999 and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that three different models have been suggested for the producers, importers & brand owners to implement the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) mechanism during a case related to the plastic pens waste management.
This was mentioned in an affidavit filed by the MoEF&CC on September 09, 2020, before the Green Tribunal. A bench headed by the NGT Chairperson AK Goel was hearing a plea filed by Avani Mishra, who has raised a grievance against the unchecked use of plastic pens having an adverse impact on the environment.
The petition states that around 91% of the plastic waste generated by such plastic pens is not recycled and 1600 to 2400 million pieces are brought to the market every year.
Earlier, the Hon’ble Tribunal had asked the Environment Ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to respond to the plea. According to a report filed by the CPCB on June 11, 2020, it informed that PWM rules, 2018 does not cover plastic pens under the Extended Producers Liability. “The items covered under EPR in PWM Rules, 2018 are multi-layered plastic sachet or pouches or packaging, thus, items such as plastic pens and other plastic products have not been covered under Extended Producers Liabilities”, the report said.
Further, the board also said that the National Framework for EPR under PWM Rules, 2018 is under consideration at MoEF&CC. It has communicated to the Ministry to clearly enumerate the items to be covered under EPR.
EPR is a commitment under which the producers are given a significant responsibility, which can be either financial or physical or both, for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
The petitioner, in light of poor enforcement of the EPR, has suggested the introduction of the ‘buy-back’ policy by the manufacturer or the producers.
Since another matter in relation to the enforcement of ‘extended producers liability’ for plastic is pending, the Tribunal has asked the Ministry to file further action taken report before the next date. The matter has been posted for further hearing on October 14.