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February 23 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


A parliamentary panel recently expressed concerns about the ineffective handling of plastic waste in India, based on a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticized the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for its lax approach and urged the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change to take concrete steps to combat plastic pollution.

Findings of the PAC Report:

Acknowledgment of Ministry’s Efforts:

  • The PAC acknowledged the Ministry’s efforts on plastic waste since May 2021 but stressed the need for more effective measures.

Increasing Plastic Waste Generation:

  • Plastic waste generation has surged from 15.9 lakh tonnes per annum in 2015-16 to 41.2 lakh tonnes per annum in 2020-21.

Unutilized Plastic Waste and Environmental Impact:

  • In 2019-20, 50% of the total plastic waste (34.7 lakh tonnes) remained unutilized, polluting air, water, and soil, impacting human health.

Data Gap and Inconsistencies:

  • The PAC noted a significant data gap, inconsistencies in data, and the failure of many State Pollution Control Boards to provide data for 2016-18.

Importance of Finding Alternatives to Plastic:

  • Finding cost-effective alternatives to plastic is crucial for its elimination.

Measures Taken to Curb Plastic Pollution:

Global Level:

  • Resolution to End Plastic Pollution (2022): 124 countries, including India, signed a resolution for a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution.
  • Closing the loop: A project by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific to tackle plastic pollution.
  • Global Tourism Plastics initiative: Aims to reduce plastic pollution in the tourism sector by 2025.
  • EU Directive on Single-Use Plastics (2021): In effect since July 2021, addressing single-use plastics.

Indian Government Initiatives:

  • Ban on Hard-to-Collect Single-Use Plastics: Prohibiting items with thickness below 120 microns.
  • Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022: Introduces guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
  • Local Body Responsibility: Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, mandate local bodies to manage plastic waste.
  • Other Initiatives: National Dashboard on Elimination of Single-Use Plastic, India Plastics Pact, Project REPLAN, National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Recommendations of the PAC Report:

Reliable Data Assessment:

  • Emphasized the need for reliable data assessment of plastic waste generation as a primary step.

Mandatory Reporting on National Dashboard:

  • Recommended mandatory online reporting of data on the national dashboard.

Urgent and Effective Enforcement Measures:

  • Urged immediate and effective measures, including awareness campaigns, funds for R&D on alternatives, making implementing agencies accountable, promoting recycled plastic, and increasing recycling facilities.

Vigilance over Industrial Practices:

  • Suggested close monitoring of industries to ensure genuine collection and recycling practices.

Bottom-Up Approach:

  • Advocated adopting a bottom-up approach, ensuring every block in the country has at least one plastic waste recycling unit.

Encouraging Industry Participation:

  • Encouraged incentivizing industries to set up local recycling units and collaborate with waste pickers.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a statutory organization formed in 1974, plays a vital role in controlling water and air pollution, providing technical services to the Ministry of Environment.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC):

Established in 1921, the PAC is a parliamentary committee that oversees government expenditure. It comprises members elected by the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):

EPR makes producers responsible for a product’s environmental impacts throughout its life cycle, aiming to reduce municipal burden and integrate environmental costs into product prices.

Mains Question:

  1. “Discuss the findings and recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) regarding the handling of plastic waste in India, as highlighted in its recent report. Evaluate the effectiveness of measures taken by the Indian government and international organizations to combat plastic pollution. (150 WORDS)


February 23
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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