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- GS 3 || Environment || Governance: India || Environmental Protection Act
Why in the news?
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change shared the draft notification for regulations for the extended producer responsibility (EPR) for waste tyres that will, if finalised, be effective starting the new fiscal year.
Waste tyres statistics:
- India is the world’s third largest producer and fourth largest consumer of natural rubber. Within the country, the automobile industry is the largest consumer.
- As per data provided for an NGT case, India discards roughly 275,000 tyres each year but does not have a comprehensive plan for them.
- India produces 6.5 lakh tyres every day.
- Over and above it, about 3 million waste tyres are imported for recycling.
EPR obligations under draft notification:
- 2022-23: EPR obligation of 35 percent of the quality of tyres manufactured or imported in 2020-2021
- 2023-24: EPR obligation of 70 per cent of the quantity of new tyres manufactured or imported in 2021-22
- 2024-25: EPR obligation of 100 per cent of the quantity of new tyres manufactured or imported in 2022-23
- After 2024-25, the EPR obligation will be 100 per cent of the quantity of new tyres manufactured or imported in the preceding year.
- For units established after April 1, 2022, EPR obligation will start after two years. It will be 100 per cent of the new tyres manufactured or imported in the previous year.
India’s position on Rubber Consumption and Production:
- Fourth Largest Producer in the world: India is the world’s third largest producer and fourth largest consumer of natural rubber.
- Automobile Industry- the largest consumer: Within the country, the automobile industry is the largest consumer (India produces 6.5 lakh tyres every day). Of the 1.5 billion+ waste tyres that are generated every year worldwide, 6% are in India.
- Large Import of Tyres: In addition, India also imports around 3 lakh tonnes of tyres to recycle every year. They are subject to thermochemical treatments in high temperature to produce industrial oil and other derivatives.
- Concerns related to Tyres: Pollution from these sources is a big concern as a number of pyrolysis units in about 19 states were observed to flout environmental norms and were responsible for high levels of pollution.
- The ill effects include:
- High concentration of BOD, COD, and Sulphur in the environment.
- Improper disposal of Waste.
- Inefficient Waste Treatment processes.
- Lack of Technology for disposal and treatment etc.
- Number of vehicles: With the rate of growth of the automobile industry, this number is only set to increase. An “environmental research and action group” called Chintan reported in 2017 that by 2035, there will be around 80.1 million passenger vehicles (cars and utility vehicles) and 236.4 million two wheelers on the roads.
- Thermochemical treatments: Of the 1.5 billion+ waste tyres that are generated every year worldwide, 6% are in India. In addition, India also imports around three lakh tonnes of tyres to recycle every year. They are subject to thermochemical treatments in high temperatures to produce industrial oil and other derivatives.
- Pollution is a big concern:
- In 2019, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ordered 270 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 states to shut, after finding that the units were flouting environmental norms and were responsible for high levels of pollution.
The new EPR regime:
- 2024-2025: According to the new draft notification, by 2024-2025, all manufacturers and importers of new tyres will need to recycle all their products, starting with recycling 35% and then 75% of their products for the first two years, and achieving 100% by 2024.
- 2024-2025: Recycling 35% and then 75%, achieving 100% by 2024
- The notification also bans the import of waste tyres for the sole purpose of producing pyrolysis oil or char.
- Additionally, all producers and importers will have to register with the CPCB and obtain an ‘EPR certificate’ in favour of a registered recycler for all the products they recycle.
- EPR certificates: Recyclers, including facilities that engage in pyrolysis, will have to provide monthly updates to the CPCB on the quantity of waste tyres used, end products produced and EPR certificates sold in this regard.
- CPCB Guidelines: The CPCB has also been tasked with setting guidelines to impose and collect environmental compensation from producers and recyclers if they don’t comply with these regulations or use false EPR certificates.
- 2022-2023: If approved – the draft notification will be open for comments for two months – the rules, as part of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, will be effective from the next financial year, 2022-2023.
Worldwide EPR Policy:
- According to a 2021 study, many countries have adopted the EPR system to make producers responsible for managing their products until the post-consumer stage.
- It is the most common tyre waste management system in the European Union, for example.
- Developing countries have adopted it as well: Ecuador established an EPR policy for waste tyres from cars, trucks and buses in 2013.
- Reduce illegal stockpiling: One 2019 study found that introducing EPR to tackle waste tyres could reduce illegal stockpiling of waste tyres and increase resource efficiency by increasing recycling.
- Environmentally sound way: However, it also maintained that an EPR system could be no guarantee for waste treatment in the most “environmentally sound way”, because an EPR system will only achieve its objectives if it is properly designed, implemented and enforced.
“The term ‘Environmentally sound management of waste tyre’ means taking all steps required to ensure that waste tyre is managed in a manner that shall protect health and the environment against any adverse effects that may result from such waste tyre,” a Ministry official explained.
Mains oriented question:
Waste recycling operations in the informal sector are unregistered and uncontrolled, despite the fact that they make a profit. Illustrate. (250 words)