Environmental Governance Quarterly

Newsletter Volume 2
March 28, 2012
chandra_bhushanDear friends,

Let me first thank all of you for giving valuable feedbacks to the first edition of Environmental Governance Quarterly Newsletter. We have incorporated some of the changes that were suggested. For instance, we have tried to capture international regulatory news in the current edition. Some of you also wanted to contribute to the newsletter. We will be most happy and would encourage you to write for the newsletter, but the final call on the selection of the article will remain with the editorial team.

The focus of the current edition of newsletter is Biomedical waste rules and the Plastic wastes Rules.Both these rules have been recently amended and these amendments are likely to put more stress on already fledgling state pollution control boards. We believe that these amendments have not seriously considered the implementation aspects of the Rules.

Biomedical wastes constitute 1.5 – 2 per cent of municipal waste in urban India. The Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998 have been amended after 13 years of implementation and several new changes have been introduced in the Rules. The new Rules have definitely cleared several lacunae of the previous but demands greater implementation and monitoring. Every hospital or health care units are now under the ambit of law and have to have the necessary equipments for treating their wastes or send it to a treatment facility for ultimate disposal.

The fact is that barring a few large health care establishments most does not have any facilities for treatment and disposal of wastes. There is also a dearth of common treatment facilities especially in non-metro cities and towns. The amended Biomedical Waste Rules demands development of large-scale infrastructure and a strong monitoring system.

The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules came into force from February 2011. A welcome addition in the new Rules is the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which mandates the producers to be responsible for the end of life of their product. The implementation of EPR has been given to the municipal authorities. The rules however, provide little guidance on how municipalities should be implementing the EPR provision. The Rules are also silent on penalty for non-implementation.

Few months back, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued guidelines categorizing conditions of Environmental Clearance (EC)in to serious and not-so-serious categories. The idea behind this categorization was that monitoring and enforcement would be focused and strict for serious categories. Though this categorization is good, it will not serve its purpose till strict penalty is awarded for non-compliance. Past experiences have shown that issuing notices have not yielded any result.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has recently notified norms for mercury emissions from Thermal Power Plants. India too has problem of mercury emissions from power plants as Indian coal contain reasonably high amount of mercury. Some studies estimate that annually Indian power plants could be emitting more than 100 tonnes of mercury into the environment. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and can create health havoc as it had done in Minamata in Japan. However, We do not know what kind of health havoc mercury emissions from thermal power plants are causing in the country as no one has cared to check for it.

As always, we would be most happy to receive your feedback. You can e-mail your feedback/opinion at

- Chandra Bhushan
Bio Medical Waste Rules made stringent
Ministry of Environment and Forests has revised the Bio Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules promulgated under the Environment Protection Act of 1986. The Rules now called the Bio Medical Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 has been notified for information of the masses and feedback received from all fronts would be considered by the Central Government.
Plastic Waste: Will the new rules clear up the clogged mess?
Poly-ethene carry bags are the biggest nuisance amongst all the plastic waste. Each year, millions of plastic bags end up deteriorating the environment due to their improper disposal. Plastic bags being resistant to bacterial degradation are although a commercial success but inevitably become a major threat to the environment.
Not-so-serious initiative
A committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has issued first-of-its-kind guidelines categorising non-compliance of Environmental Clearance (EC) conditions as serious and not-so-serious. The Ministry of Environment and Forests constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of Shri J.M. Mauskar, Special Secretary to Government of India in 2009 to examine the issues relating to monitoring of projects.
Nirma loses wetland
Environment ministry seeks to curb shoddy EIA reports

RSPCB Issues directives on waste disposal a second time
US sets mercury emission limits
River pollution plaguing Gujarat
Mystery behind changing hues of Sunnambu Odai
Waste manager dumps it in river
Hazardous delay
Diesel: when bad policy makes for toxic hell
Gujarat industries under scrutiny
Delhi to go greener
International dump yard
Lost woods
CSE’s Outreach in South Asia
Bio Medical Waste Rules 2011
The MoEF has notified the new Draft Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to replace the earlier Rules (1998) and the amendments thereof.
Report of the committee constituted for development of criteria and formulation of guidelines of non-compliances into the category of serious and not-so-serious
Radiation impact study made mandatory
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered mandatory radiation impact studies before approving Thermal Power Plants. The order was issued followed by an appeal filed by social and environmental groups against the Environmental Clearance granted to the proposed 3*600 MW expansion of coal based thermal power plant unit at Koradi Thermal Power Project in Nagpur district of Maharashtra.
We are delighted to inform you that the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in collaboration with Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Central Pollution Control Board has started a training and capacity building programme for State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and State Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).

Environmental Management of Mines
Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement
Advance Wastewater Treatment and DEWAT
Pollution Monitoring Techniques and Instrumentation
Hazardous Waste Management and Remediation of Contaminated Sites
National Minimum Training Programme
CPCB’s Guide Manual: Water and wastewater analysis
MOSPI's Compendium of environment statistics
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