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The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has told the western bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it has to prepare a proper plan for the disposal of all absorbent hygiene product waste, such as sanitary napkins and diapers. In response to an affidavit by city-based law student Purva Bora, the MPCB had said the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, has put the onus on the manufacturers or brand owners of disposable products — such as sanitary napkins and diapers — to explore the possibility of using recyclable material in their products or providing a pouch or wrapper for disposal.
During the hearing in December last year, the petitioner’s lawyer Asim Sarode had told the tribunal that no manufacturers of sanitary napkins were providing a pouch or wrapper for disposal of sanitary napkins or diapers, which was in violation of the law. The NGT had served notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forest, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the state Health Department, Pune Municipal Corporation, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Nagpur Municipal Corporation and the Urban Development department, along with the manufacturing companies, directing them to submit their responses on the issues raised in the litigation.
The MPCB said the Central Pollution Control Board has already issued letters to all state pollution control boards, seeking comments or remarks on ways to segregate and dispose of such waste. The MPCB has now suggested to the Central Pollution Control Board that urban local bodies should make a provision to collect sanitary waste separately and hand over the same to the existing biomedical waste disposal system, till they install their own treatment facility. The MPCB has also issued directions to all municipal corporations in the state, directing them to raise awareness through information, education and communication campaigns and educate waste generators to practice segregation of waste.