Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
07-February-2011 17:47 IST
Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 Notified

Explicit Recognition to Waste Pickers under New Rules

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has today notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. It replaces the earlier Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules,1999 (amended in 2003). These Rules have been brought out following detailed discussions and consultations with a wide spectrum of stakeholders including civil society, industry bodies, relevant Central Government Ministries and State Governments.

Releasing the Rules the Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh said ‘’ It is impractical and undesirable to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic all over the country. The real challenge is to improve municipal solid waste management systems. In addition to the privatization and mechanization of the municipal solid waste management systems we must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the lakhs of people involved in the informal sector’’

Some of the salient features of the new Rules are ban on use of plastic materials in sachets for storing ,packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala, no food stuffs will be allowed to be packet in recycled plastics or compostable plastics, recycled carry bags to have specific BIS standards, colour to the prescription by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), uniform thickness shall not be less than 40 microns in carry bags etc.

One of the major provisions under the new Rules is the explicit recognition of the rule of waste pickers. The new Rules require the municipal authority to constructively engage agencies or groups working in waste management including these waste pickers. This is the very first time that such a special dispensation has been made.

The Municipal authority shall be responsible for setting up, operationalisation and coordination of the waste management system and for performing the associated functions, This include to ensure safe collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste:, no damage to the environment during this process, setting up of the collection centers for plastic waste involving manufacturers, its channelization to recyclers:, to create awareness among all stakeholders about their responsibilities , and to ensure that open burning of plastic waste is not permitted.