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SC worried over littered plastic ‘time bomb’

Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 4th April, 2013

Over 6,000 tonne of plastic waste generated every day in the country remains uncollected and littered and only 60% of the more than 15,000 tonne of plastic waste is recycled daily, says a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) survey report.

The survey was on Wednesday submitted by additional solicitor general Mohan Jain before the Supreme Court that expressed shock at the pile-up of plastic waste. “It’s frightening. We are sitting on a time bomb. All the rivers will die in the next 10 years,” noted a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi.

The bench’s observation came during the hearing of gutka manufacturers’ plea challenging the ban on sale of pan masala containing tobacco. The pollution control board was asked to place data with regard to plastic waste generation after the court was informed that the plastic pouches used by these manufacturers were an environmental hazard.

Based on the data, the bench issued notices to Delhi’s three municipal commissioners and New Delhi Municipal Council to explain whether they had complied with the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 to dispose plastic garbage.

Delhi tops the list in plastic waste generation. Of the 6,800 tonnes of municipal solid waste generated daily, plastic accounts for 689.52 tonnes.

Similar explanation has been sought from the municipalities of Bangalore, Chennai, Agra and Faridabad. Besides, the state pollution control boards and CPCB would apprise the court about the steps taken to comply with the 2011 rules for plastic waste management. It gave four weeks to them while fixing May 3 for hearing the matter further.