NGT directs local bodies and TNPCB to strictly implement plastic waste management rules

The National Green Tribunal (Southern Zone) has directed local bodies, including the Greater Chennai Corporation, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and Chennai Collectorate, to strictly implement the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

This included the Extended Producers Responsibility provided under the guidelines issued in 2020 and subsequent guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Central Pollution Control Board. It asked them to take action against violators by imposing environmental compensation, apart from imposing the penalties as provided under the local and other environmental laws.

In an order on an original application by Antony Clement Rubin of Chennai, seeking directions to various government bodies to properly implement the Plastic Waste Management Rules, judicial member Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Satyagopal Korlapati also directed the Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forests, and the Chief Secretary, State of Tamil Nadu, to monitor the implementation of the directions issued by the State government by the Special Task Force constituted as per GO (Ms.) No.25 Environment, Climate Change & Forests (EC.2) Department dated February 7, 2022.

If any gap was found, they have been directed to issue necessary directions to implement the provisions of the 2016 rules and further notifications and guidelines issued by the MoEF&CC in this regard, in its letter and spirit.

The TNPCB in coordination with the Collectors of the respective districts and local bodies was directed to conduct awareness programs among them to avoid usage of banned plastics and adopt environment-friendly methodologies of carrying cloth bags or other alternatives.

The State government in coordination with the TNPCB has also been directed by the NGT to evolve a policy of providing incentive to manufactures/producers of products to replace plastic using eco-friendly materials, so that it will motivate manufacturers to rely on alternate materials and strengthen Efforts to strictly implement the ban in its letter and spirit.

The TNPCB in coordination with the Education Department and the State Legal Services Authority has also been directed to conduct awareness programs among students, including professional colleges, regarding the negative effects of the use of plastic on the environment and motivate them to avoid plastics.

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