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File photo. “There are some municipal areas in the country which already charge people for waste management. The new rules gives powers to local bodies across India to decide the user fees,” said Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar. Photo: PTI
File photo. “There are some municipal areas in the country which already charge people for waste management. The new rules gives powers to local bodies across India to decide the user fees,” said Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar. Photo: PTI

Govt notifies new solid waste management rules

The SWM rules are being revised after a gap of 16 years and will replace SWM rules 2000

New Delhi: Indians may soon have to pay for management and disposal of solid waste with the environment ministry on Tuesday notifying the new Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules 2016 that also have provisions for spot fines for littering public spaces.

The SWM rules are being revised after a gap of 16 years and will replace SWM rules 2000.

“There are some municipal areas in the country which already charge people for waste management. The new rules gives powers to local bodies across India to decide the user fees," said Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar.

The user fee, however, is mandatory for bulk waste generators such as hotels, industry and others, who also would have to focus on waste segregation, the minister said.

The SWM rules 2016 has expanded the ambit of the rule beyond municipal areas to include urban agglomerations, notified industrial townships, areas under Indian Railways, airports, ports and harbours, defence establishments, special economic zones, state and central organisations, places of pilgrimage, religious and historical importance.

The new rules also defines sanitary waste such as diapers and sanitary pads and calls for their proper disposal. “Manufacturers or brand owners or marketing companies of sanitary napkins and diapers should explore possibility of using recyclable materials in their products... They shall provide a pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diapers along with packet of sanitary products," the rules stated, calling upon companies to educate masses about proper wrapping and disposal of such wastes.

Solid waste management is a major problem across India as untreated waste disposed in the open has led to water pollution and clogged sewer systems. As per official estimates, at present around 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year. But only 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 millions tonnes is treated.

In the last one month, the environment ministry has notified waste management rules for plastic waste, solid waste, e-waste, bio-medical waste, hazardous waste and construction and demolition waste.

Javadekar said the effort is to overhaul the waste collection and disposal system to achieve the objectives of Swachh Bharat. The rules also focus on making ragpickers an integral part of waste management system.

“Ragpickers and waste dealers should be brought into a formal system from the informal system. They would all be registered and their welfare will be taken care of," the minister said.

On monitoring and implementation of the new waste rules, Javadekar said a cell has been formed within the ministry to oversee the progress.

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