The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed all civic bodies of Moga district in Punjab to ensure implementation of the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules of 2016, by March 31, 2020.
The directive was issued during a meeting of the 3-member committee of the NGT comprising former Chief Secretary, S C Aggarwal; environmentalist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal and former member secretary of the Punjab Pollution Control Board Babu Ram; with the Deputy Commissioner of Moga, Mr. Sandeep Hans and other department officials to review the implementation of solid waste management rules recently.
They also advised civic bodies to ensure drainage of water after treating it through sewerage treatment plants. Failing to comply with the rules either by an urban or rural local body would attract hefty penalty, the Committee informed.
The NGT move is timely, given that a whopping 62 million tons of waste is generated annually in the country, out of which 5.6 million tons is plastic waste, 0.17 million tons biomedical waste, 7.90 million tons hazardous waste and 15 lakh tons is e-waste. Further, just about 75-80 per cent of the municipal waste gets collected and only 22-28 per cent is processed and treated.
Reports indicate that the rules are applicable beyond municipal areas and have included urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships, areas under the control of Indian Railways, airports, special economic zones, places of pilgrimage, religious and historical importance, and State and Central Government organisations in their ambit.
SWM Rules of 2016 advocate segregation at source, collection and disposal of sanitary waste; collect Back scheme for packaging waste; user fees for collection; waste processing and treatment; and promote use of compost; and waste to energy projects, among others.
Previously Moga was awarded the first rank at the national level Swachhata Darpan Rural Ranking 2019 under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen.
*This article first appeared on the Tribute on March 3, 2020