A National Green Tribunal (NGT) bench, headed by justice Raghuvendra S Rathore, on October 22, 2018, directed the joint secretary (Swachh Bharat) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, to appear before it, to explain the compliance of its order on the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. Warning that the failure to ensure proper management of solid waste, will have disastrous consequences, the tribunal has appointed three committees to monitor disposal of garbage in an eco-friendly manner across the country.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) management is one of the most serious challenges to environment protection and although the Solid Waste Management Rules have been framed in 2016, their implementation remains a problem, the tribunal had said, expressing its anguish over the issue. The tribunal had formed three committees – the apex monitoring committee, regional monitoring committees and state-level committees – to oversee the steps to be taken, to give effect to the directions of the tribunal, including proper implementation of the rules.
Observing that most of the states have no plans to deal with solid wastes in rural areas and hilly terrains effectively, the NGT had said that many rural centres are rapidly turning into urban conglomerates and if their solid wastes are not managed urgently, we would be inviting several diseases with disastrous consequences. The apex monitoring committee will be headed by former Supreme Court judge, justice DK Jain and also comprise of the chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board, joint secretary of the Ministry of the Environment and Forests and joint secretary and mission director of the Swachh Bharat Mission of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
“The regional monitoring committees shall ensure effective implementation of the Rules, 2016. The regional monitoring committees shall also ensure that mixing of bio-medical waste with municipal solid waste does not take place and bio-medical waste are processed in accordance with the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016. The regional monitoring committees may meet, preferably, once every week or at longer intervals, as per requirements. Outstation members may participate by video-conferencing, unless physical presence is required,” it said.
There will also be state-level committees headed by the secretary of the Urban Development Department, with the secretary of the Environment Department as members, it had said. “The representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards would assist the state-level committees. The state-level committees may have interactions with the local bodies, preferably, once in two weeks. The local bodies may furnish reports to the state committees twice a month,” the tribunal had said.