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DECODING EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

We live in an age of quick industrialized, urbanized, modernized, and rapid technological and population growth, and garbage waste management is critical for the local environment and human health. The human population increased, human consumption increased, and solid waste increased. So it’s high time that we take proper measures to curb the pollution created by waste. Packaging waste, e-waste, tire waste, and battery waste of goods and services is a big problem of pollution that impacts human health and the environment. We should bring some new innovative ideas to reduce such pollution and keep the environment free from pollution. Giving the sole responsibility of reducing plastic usage or recycling after post-consumer items to governments is a burden on it economically. Like rag picking, collection, and segregation, recycling costs more than the production cost of the product. So, Extended Producers Responsibility imposes sharing the costs of waste disposal on plastic generators, manufacturers of e-waste, importers, brand owners, etc., created by them.

EXTENDED PRODUCERS LIABILITY

Extended producer responsibility is a practical and policy approach that reduces pollution. Here producers take the responsibility of disposing of the end products manufactured by them. That includes both pre-consumer products and post-consumer products. EPR imposes liability on producers, manufacturers, importers, brand owners, E- retailers for the treatment or disposal of wastes created by them. The responsibility of polluters may include taxation and manual collection of the waste, or it may be both. The role played by EPR is significant for the benefit of economic, social, and environmental activities.

Concept of extended producer’s responsibility

The first time idea of EPR was introduced by Thomas Lindquist. He reported to the Sweden government, and EPR is discussed in the report submitted to the ministry of environment.  And the definition of EPR emerged in subsequent reports of him. Later it got implemented in various EU countries and some of the OECD countries.

EPR definition

Extended Producer Responsibility is a strategy-based approach to protect the environment by attaining a state of decreasing negative impacts of products on the environment. It makes the producer or polluter responsible for the proper disposal of the products produced by them. The sole responsibility for disposing of the overall life-cycle of the goods, that is beginning from the pre-consumption level to the post-consumption, rests on him through the take-back system, recycling, funding of the recycling units, and end disposal of the product.

EPR CONTEXT IN INDIA

The Environment Protection Act of 1986 protects the environment of India. Sections 3, 6, and 25 of the EPA impose powers on the government to make rules, and soon

  • Sec 3 confers the Central Government powers to take measures to protect and build the environment.
  • Sec 6 confers the power of the Central Government to make rules for the proper regulation of environmental pollution.
  • Sec 25 confers the power to make rules.

Before the introduction of EPA in 1986, environmental issues were dealt with by the judiciary, constitution, Indian penal code, and industrial laws.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

EPR environmental compensation through the Polluters pay principle

The polluters pay principle idea in India is raised from judicial activism by adopting the 16th principle of RIO-Declaration that says ” the polluter should be held liable for the pollution made by him. ” EPR simply says that “the polluter should make good for the loss he created to the environment.” The EPR was first introduced in the Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action vs. Union of India and was interpreted in Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum vs. Union of India.

EPR deals with many types of waste management:

  • Wastes of plastic Management.
  • management of electronic wastes.
  • Waste management of batteries.
  • waste of tire management.

MANAGEMENT OF ELECTRONIC WASTE

The world’s third largest producer of e-waste is India stated the UN Global e-waste monitor 2020. Day by day, the usage of electronic goods needs are increasing and e-waste is also increasing rapidly. Electronic waste was first treated under Municipal Solid Waste Management and regulated by Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008. Later under ( Management & Handling ) Rules 2008. were issued.

For the proper regulation of e-waste in India, The Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India notified on E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011. It is the first time that EPR is coming to India. Due to the drawbacks of these rules and EPR authorization, new rules came into force in 2016. E-waste  (Management) Rules, 2016 these rules set forth some e-waste collection targets for the entities dealing with e-waste  Later the 2016 rules also got amended.” The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF & CC)” notified the Amendment Rules in 2018. These amended rules introduced PROs and EPR applications, and the process for application for EPR registration was made easy. It changed the EPR target which is the collection of electronic waste.

PLASTIC WASTE MANAGEMENT

In the suppression of the recycled plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999. The central government has made the rules under The Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India. The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. were introduced. These rules proposed specific conditions for the production, collection of stocks, trading, and utility of carry bags and sachets made of plastic. These rules should be regulated and furnished by the State Pollution Control Boards or the Municipal Local Authorities. The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. It imposes an obligation on the plastic generators to reduce the generation of plastic by taking appropriate measures, minimizing the creation of scraps of plastic waste, making sure of the storage of the segregated waste matter at the source level, and passing the waste matter to the recycling units. The rules make the local bodies, local governments, panchayats, waste generators, polluters, retailers, manufacturers, and street vendors responsible for the management of plastic waste.

CONCLUSION

Statistics show that over 3.2 million tons of waste were produced in India in 2019. Our country creates large amounts of garbage. The contribution of India’s per capita to hazardous waste management is low, which is 2.4 kg which makes a lot of difference from the global average contribution of 7.3 kg. Day by day environmental degradation is increasing. It’s high time that we must consider environmental pollution as a huge problem. Though many laws have come into force their implementation lagged. We must see harm to the environment as a serious crime. We need to have responsible as well as serious approach towards the environment and try to give more than what we take from the environment.

Author(s) Name: Lankadi Uma Devi (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar College of Law, Andhra University)