In a significant order, the NGT on Thursday imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in open places across the country and announced a fine of Rs 25,000 on each incident of bulk waste burning. “We specifically direct that there shall be complete prohibition on open burning of waste on lands, including at the landfill sites. For each such incident, violators including project proponent, concessionaire, any person or body responsible for such burning, shall be liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 in case of simple burning, while Rs 25,000 in case of bulk waste burning,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
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While directing every State and Union Territory to enforce and implement Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the green panel also asked the Environment Ministry and all states to pass appropriate directions in relation to the ban on short-life Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and chlorinated plastics within a period of six months.
“All state governments and Union Territories shall prepare an action plan in terms of the Rules of 2016 and the directions in this Judgment within four weeks from the date of pronouncement. The action plan would relate to the management and disposal of waste in the entire State. The steps are required to be taken in a time-bound manner. Establishment and operationalisation of the plants for processing and disposal of the waste and selection and specifications of landfill sites which have to be constructed, be prepared and maintained strictly in accordance with the Rules of 2016,” the NGT said.
It further held that non-biodegradable waste and non-recyclable plastic should be segregated from the landfill sites and used for construction of roads and embankments in all road projects all over the country. The green panel’s judgement came on the petition by Almitra Patel and others seeking directions to local bodies instates and the Centre for improving solid waste management methods.