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Bihar Contemplating Lucrative Models for Waste Management and Recycling
The progress in the implementation of the enforcement of Solid Waste Management and Plastic Waste are being monitored by the State-Level Advisory Committee and State Level Advisory Board”, exclaims Dipak Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of Bihar
Photo Credit :
“Proper segregation of solid wastes, ensuring treatment of bio degradable waste within the premises by the bulk generators, setting up of treatment and disposal facilities and better management of (Construction & Demolition Waste) C&D Waste will help in better waste management in the State. Material Recovery Facilities at various Urban Local Bodies, for proper management of plastic wastes. There is a Waste to Energy Facility in operation in East Champaran district for proper disposal of plastic wastes. The progress in the implementation of the enforcement of Solid Waste Management and Plastic Waste are being monitored by the State-Level Advisory Committee and State Level Advisory Board”, exclaims Dipak Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of Bihar, during a tete-a-tete with Poulami Chakraborty of BW Businessworld. Excerpts below:
In a major decision announced by the state government in early June, it has authorized 142 e-waste collection points in various districts and has initiated awareness drives about e-waste hazards. Please elaborate further on this initiative?
In consultation with the Producers, collection centres have been identified and the list of the same has been published on the website of the Bihar State Pollution Control Board. Advertisement through hoardings, print and electronic media have been made for public awareness for proper collection and disposal of e-waste. Awareness programme among school children has also been conducted widely. Earlier, meetings have been held with the main stockholders, the producers of e-waste, to enforce EPR (Extended Producers responsibility). To enforce EPR in states like Bihar which is mainly consumer state and not producer state, MOEFCC and CPCB have been requested to remove the clauses of geographical neutrality and brand neutrality in meeting the EPR obligations.
How critical is e-waste management in planning resilient and sustainable cities? What major other initiatives are in pipeline of state department towards this sector?
E-waste management is very crucial in planning sustainable cities as it comprises of many heavy metals, plastics and other compounds which, when disposed improperly causes serious environmental problems. Bihar is a major consumer state with 10% of the National population but legitimate recycler and dismantler are not available in the State. Such facilities have to be developed to discourage transportation of E-waste to other state. E-Waste recycling in informal sector is also a cause of concern, as they avoid adherence to safety protocols. State is trying to encourage entrepreneurs to set up waste management facility in the State. Certain (at least 5%) plots have been earmarked for encouraging establishment of e-waste recycling units in various industrial areas in Bihar, to attract investment.
What is the prime challenge that our state departments face while initiating e-waste management? What methods of mitigation is adopted or can be adopted?
Lack of awareness among consumers towards deposition of e waste in authorized collection centres, inadequate numbers of collection centres and lack of publicity and hence knowledge about them as well as absence of a lucrative buy back policy by the industry, lack of authorized recyclers/ dismantlers are major challenges in e waste management. The elaborate record keeping for the collection centres, in turn, is cited by the producers as discouragement to increase their numbers. State authorities has requested MoEFCC to differentiate between collection centres and collection points and encourage large number of collection points, which shall act as drop off point only, without requiring elaborate record keeping. A good buy back policy will encourage consumers to return the e-waste to authorized collection channel. The Bihar State Pollution Control Board is also contemplating to fix a rate for recycling of different electric and electronic items through open tender, so that various bulk waste generators can easily dispose the e-waste in their possession without the requirement for floating tender separately for this purpose.
Besides e-waste, medical wastes had been on rise in the present day scenario owing to the havoc caused by covid. What are the measures taken to manage medical waste?
Bio medical wastes in the State are being managed through four Common Bio Medical Wastes Treatment Facilities, located in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Bhagalpur. COVID related BMWs are also being collected by them for proper treatment and disposal as per the guidelines issued by CPCB for the purpose. Inspections are being conducted, time to time, at various Health Care Facilities and at all Common BMW Treatment Facilities and the defaulters are being issued with notice and are being penalized. Public awareness through print media, radio jingles and social media are being continuously done for better management of BMW in the state. The data related to disposal of BMW through Common Bio Medical Waste Treatment Facilities are being uploaded daily through the mobile application COVID19 BWM, as per the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board.
What measures are in pipeline to improve the Swachh Sarvekshan Ranking of Bihar in the coming days?
Door to door collection has been implemented in the State. Proper segregation of solid wastes, ensuring treatment of bio degradable waste within the premises by the bulk generators, setting up of treatment and disposal facilities and better management of (Construction & Demolition Waste) C&D Waste will help in better waste management in the State. At present, Wet Waste Processing and Dry Waste Processing are being done at various corporations, through scientific methods. There is a proposal to create Material Recovery Facilities at various Urban Local Bodies, for proper management of plastic wastes. There is a Waste to Energy Facility in operation in East Champaran district for proper disposal of plastic wastes. The Urban Local Administration is also distributing two dust bins to encourage source segregation. The progress in the implementation of the enforcement of Solid Waste Management and Plastic Waste are being monitored by the State-Level Advisory Committee and State Level Advisory Board, under observation of administrative authorities of Urban Development and Housing, Government of Bihar.
Going forward, what policy changes and new recommendations are required for Indian states to cope with the impending situation on climate change and environment protection?
As far as Bihar is concerned, the source apportionment study of air pollution of three cities of Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya has given us fair idea about the prioritization of sectors for tackling air pollution in the entire state. Major momentum has been generated by the launching of Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali Avhiyan in Oct 2019, comprising of 11 elements targeting conservation of water, increase in green cover, ground water recharge, rain water harvesting, use of renewable energy, saving of energy, promotion of cleaner fuels in transport etc. To study the GHG emission scenario of the State in different sectors and development of a roadmap for low carbon development pathway and for Climate Resilience, the State has initiated a study in association with UNEP. The State is aiming to achieve a Low Carbon Development Pathway in the State by 2040.
To meet the challenges of climate disruption, first major requirement is change in attitude for both Government departments as well as for masses. Environmental protection and climate change is to be seen as the responsibility of all the departments of Government and not only Environment and Forest Department. Secondly, the belief that all harm to the nature can be mitigated, have to be shed off. Nature can’t be recreated, nor can the environmental degradation be compensated. So all development strategies have to be aligned to nature and the natural. Development with clean environment is the basis for a healthy society and a robust economy of the country. Instead of attempting to adopt to or to restore the environment, ab initio the damage being caused to the environment should be stopped. On one hand the environment is being damaged and on the other hand resources are being spent to restore the environment. Rehabilitation of degraded forests is one area where the green cover can be maintained and the ecosystem services can be improved.
What are the several initiatives taken up by the department to control Pollution in the state?
Conversion of brick kilns to cleaner technology, development of Action Plan for control of air pollution in three Non-Attainment Cities of the State i.e. Patna, Gaya and Muzaffarpur and its regular monitoring, augmentation of Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network, initiation of establishment of Sewage Treatment Plants, ban on manufacture and use of plastic carry bags irrespective of their thickness and size, ban on all single use plastic items by Dec. 2021 are some of the key initiatives that are been processed by the State Government in a bid to keep a tab on the pollution state and air quality. Bio remediation of drains draining into river Ganga, initiation of establishment of Common Effluent Treatment Plants in the industrial areas, initiation of study to find the impact of pollution from Thermal Power Plants, initiation of study to find the impact of action plan implemented to check the pollution in Hajipur Industrial Area, initiation of study to develop Noise Mapping for Patna, increasing the number of Regional offices of Pollution Control Board, regular monitoring of river waters, frequent inspection of polluted stretches of rivers, encouraging plastic recycling in the state, river front development, etc. are some of the initiatives are also taken in consideration by the state government.
Carbon credits are a good start for climate resilience. Some parts of the country has also started in implementing the same. What is your opinion on the same with Bihar perspective? What measures are in process?
Carbon credit is one area where we can take advantage of the huge number of plantations being raised in Bihar. Clean Brick Zig-Zag Technology introduced in Bihar can also be reckoned in terms of Carbon Credit. Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali Campaign, Crop rotation and diversity, flood control measures, preventing soil erosion in watershed areas, replacement of conventional polluting auto-rickshaws with less polluting CNG Auto-rickshaws and e-rickshaws in Patna, introduction of e-buses, etc. are also contributing directly to climate adaptation and resilience. People can be motivated to adopt climate resilient practices with such activities which also reduce the Carbon emission and at the same time make money out of their activities through Carbon credit. Rejuvenation of Ahar-Pyne systems, dredging and strengthening of embankments of water bodies, rivers, etc. shall qualify under this activity. The State Government will consider undertaking a study to take advantage of the carbon credits accrued through massive plantation drives. In the year 2020-21, against a target of planting 2.5 Crore plants, inside and outside the forest areas with various stakeholders, 3.7 crores of plants were planted. For this year, the Government has started the plantation drive with a target of 5.0 crores, starting from 5th June, 2021, World Environment Day.