The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday sought details on the exact status of the implementation of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 in Maharashtra from urban local bodies, and what action has been taken against those not complying with the rules. The NGT also urged the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to train all levels of the system if it wants to ensure effective implementation of the rules.
A bench comprising Justice S P Wangdi and Dr Nagin Nanda, while hearing a petition filed by a Sangli-based lecturer, Ravindra Shinde, about the poor implementation of plastic waste management rules, said unless and until people are sensitised with the problems arising due to plastic waste, the problem will not be addressed properly. The framing of rules and complaints about their poor implementation will go on and a day would come when it will be too late, the bench said.
People at every level of the system, from councillors and commissioners to those working at the ground level, should be trained to handle plastic waste for proper disposal, the bench said. “The steps will only remain a photo opportunity or merely grab headlines while the situation would be zero at the ground level,” the bench stated.
Plastic waste has affected animals like cattle on ground, turtle and fishes in the sea, the bench added. The MPCB is a statutory authority and has to ensure effective implementation of the rules, so it should train people and involve the public in the implementation of the rules, the bench said.
The bench directed the state-level advisory committee (SLAC) of the Maharashtra government to identify the local civic bodies not complying with the Plastic Waste Management Rules and what action, if any, has been taken against them.
Shinde’s lawyer, Asim Sarode, urged the bench to give directions to all district collectors to ensure that the wetlands in their respective areas are not polluted with plastic waste.
Earlier, the MPCB and the state environment department had said all urban local bodies in the state are complying with the provision of storage and segregation of plastic waste.