02 July 2019


SC relief for Maharashtra, Uttarakhand

By Aspire IAS

SC relief for Maharashtra, Uttarakhand

Theme: Solid Waste Management

In news:

Supreme Court has lifted the ban on construction activities in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, after they submitted their Solid Waste Management (SWM) policy.

Important facts:

  • More than two-third of the States/UTs had neither complied with the orders of the Court nor with the directions of Environment Ministry.
  • Taking the suo-moto cognizance of the waste management system across, the SC had ordered a ban on the construction activities of some states/UTs.
  • It also imposed fines on defaulting states including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh etc.

Issues associated with poor solid waste management (SWM):

  • Poor solid waste management is responsible for the spread of diseases and pollution.
  • The number of annual deaths on the account of air pollution and air-borne diseases is on the rise.

 Impact of the judgement:

  • The ban on construction will curtail the increasing concretisation of cities and the pollution it causes.
  • The ban will compel the states to quickly frame SWM policy.
  • It will negatively affect the construction industry.
  • It is estimated that the housing projects amounting to about 11 lakh Cr will be affected.
  • It will result into job losses, expectedly it will impact 7.65 labourers across the states on the daily basis.
  • Delayed possessions to homes put buyers in trouble.

 Present situation:

  • SC has lifted the ban on Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, as they have submitted the SWM policy before the court.
  • The Chandigarh administration has notified the SWM policy and will soon furnish it before the court.
  • Other states are also rushing into frame solid waste management rules.
  • All the states have framed their action plan and have submitted to the Environment Ministry.

 Problems with solid waste management:

  • Only 75-80 % of the municipal waste gets collected and out of this only 22-28 % is processed.
  • Lack of social awareness resulting into very low rate of segregation at source.
  • Lack of political will, most states don’t have any SWM policy and even if they have there are no bye-laws and no implementation.
  • Informal workforce for waste collection reduce accountability.
  • Inefficiencies in municipal bodies mainly due to paucity of funds and expertise.

Way forward:

  • Central government must check the implementation of SWM rules 2016, by the state-level advisory bodies.
  • RERA must direct the builders to create facility for residents to segregate waste at source.
  • Civil societies must be included in task to create awareness regarding waste management in the society.
  • Municipal authorities must be enabled financially and technically to implement SWM Rules.
  • The cess collected under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 can be utilised to bring in efficiency in the SWM system.