The National Green Tribunal last week observed that plastic pens are covered under the meaning of “plastic” as provided in Rule 3(o) of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2018 and therefore, they are also covered by the statutory framework of the said Rules.
The bench also directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to finalize the Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) mechanism. It also directed the Central Pollution Control Board to coordinate with the Pollution Control Boards of other States and State Level Monitoring Committees on its implementation.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
The petitioner, Avani Mishra, was aggrieved by the unchecked use of plastic pens having an adverse effect on the environment. According to the petitioner, the policy of “buy back” mechanism must be introduced as the extended producers’ liability in view of the plastic usage was not being enforced.
A similar matter was pending before the Tribunal in the case of Central Pollution Control Board v. State of Andaman & Nicobar & Ors (2017). Therefore, the Tribunal heard both the cases together.
The Central Pollution Control Board had submitted a report on 11.06.2020 wherein it was found that items such as plastic pens and other plastic products are not covered under the ambit of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2018. The report also suggested that the National Framework for Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) under the said Rules was under consideration of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and that the CPCB has asked the Ministry to include the plastic items under the EPR.