There is a need to clear the “pollution of corruption” in addition to addressing air and water pollution, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said today as he stressed the need for using information technology (IT) to bring transparency in efforts to contain pollution. Expressing concern over the poor air quality in Delhi, the minister stressed the need for making a holistic action plan for air quality management at the local level, while directing pollution control boards to ensure strict adherence to timeline to achieve a reduction in waste generation.
The use of information technology will enhance transparency and efficiency in efforts to contain and mitigate pollution, he said. The environment minister called for the implementation of the concept of 4 Rs –- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover — for the proper management of solid waste and sewage. “There is a need to clear the pollution of corruption from the system, besides clearing air and water pollution,” he said while addressing the inaugural session of the 62nd Conference of Chairmen and Member Secretaries of Pollution Control Boards and Committees.
He emphasised that the use of IT will ensure better compliance, as well as enhance the interaction and outreach between various stakeholders. “IT will also help in resolving issues with State Pollution Control Boards,” the minister said while pointing to the urgent need for innovative thinking and an Out-of- the box approach to resolving various issues. “Our government is committed to promoting economic well- being, along with environmental well-being,” said Harsh Vardhan, as he expressed concern over the air quality status of Delhi. He called for substantive action at the local level, along with a holistic action plan for air quality management.
Referring to the flagship schemes such as Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan, Make in India campaign, Smart Cities Project and Digital India Campaign, the minister said that ‘Make in India’ will adopt a ‘zero effect, zero defect’ policy, which will leave ‘zero effect’ on the environment. Harsh Vardhan stressed the need to address the gaps in the disposal of solid waste management as 50 percent of the waste collected is dumped “unscientifically”.
While 2,59,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day, only 14 states or Union Territories have banned plastic carry-bags, he said. The minister said that while the estimated quantity of e-waste generated is about 1.70 million TPA (tonnes per annum), the quantity of e-waste that is recycled is about 4,62,896 TPA. He also expressed dissatisfaction that e-waste inventorisation had been completed by only Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. The minister urged the remaining states to complete the process of inventorisation of e-waste at the earliest.
“He directed the Boards to ensure strict adherence to timelines to achieve a reduction in waste generation, as incorporated in the amended Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016,” an official statement said. The environment minister also sought inputs for creation of a data bank of good environmental actions and deeds that can be taken by individuals as their contribution towards protection of the environment. The minister also said he had asked the science and technology ministry and the environment ministry to work together closely so that they can benefit from the scientific innovations in the field of science and technology.