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‘Industrial packing material is permissible, but definitely attracts provision of EPR.’ was the response to the query from the State Pollution Control Board? Whether the Polythene packing is permissible restored to for the transporting their products for the consumers by the Soft drinks, drinking water manufactures units in the state. 

Associates of the Environment Awareness Forum across the state were eager to know does such practice stand under the provisions of pollution control laws. Who have been performing its social obligation, as a watch dogs, without any fanfare, since 1980, engagingthe society aware of the ill effects of the environment degradation being thrust upon against law.
At the same time bring in to notice of the authorities concerned for corrective measure as per law. An atmosphere of fearfulness has crept with distress syndrome among the masses that authorities are mute spectator to invasion ofMicro plastic whose disastrous effects on environ are no more a secret.  Scientists recorded a daily rate of 365 micro plastic particles per square meter falling from the sky in the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France.

In spite of the fact no obvious sources for the micro plastic within 100 kilometres, as per Natural Geosciences. 93% of the bottled water from 11 different brands showed micro plastic contamination per litre, researchers found an average of 325 micro plastic particles. Compared to water from taps, water from plastic bottles contained twice as much micro plastic. 
Under these circumstances the Polythene packing is allowed to  be used by the  soft drinks,& drinking water   units  .Which has become another  source  of the polythene littering  all, over can be safely  be avoided. One can find it as high as in the Himalayan range, lesser Himalaya, Pir Panjal range, Shivalik hills and terrai plains on surface in the air in water bodies and sure in water too. Readers may be aware plastics  goes far beyond the human activities, wind, Water, Birds carry them miles away to pollute the environ. Environment associates in sincerity intend the Board established for the purposes to contain reckless use and throw approach unhindered by the units. Associates desire these units should restore to a biodegradable paper board packing. 

Who cares and listens, it is as often quote if hopes were horses as beggars would ride. Word EPR made this writer a bit dizzy for a moment had heard at times while my late better half during her medical profession would ask what the ESR measures is which  relates to how quickly red blood cells settle to the bottle of a test tube. As such it appeared nothing to do to contain polythene menace. This made me to approach doctorate in chemistry, has 37 years of teaching experience, and prompt was the response that EPR is a study of the Iron complexes in Human Blood. 

Again back to zero  exhaustive of the option thought better to seek help of a scientist in the Board,  which cleared the  riddle that it is stands for  Extended Producer Responsibility a legislative strategy used by most industrialized nations to promote reuse, recycling, and eco-friendly disposal of polymer waste. Polymer waste is generated during manufacturing, distribution and sale of a variety of products including consumer goods. The concerned in the Board  who promptly responded to the query must have taken for granted  that as an environmentalist should be familiar with the ESR  Rules of which he made mention. 

This gives a rise to situation that such a term when scientists in general are not in know of it how a commoner can be supposed to know. ESR  has been introduced in the country  in  2916.It is a standard deliverance practice  to evolve for better results to be achieved in the interest of public whenever any new legislation or law is introduced . Has to be given wide publicity till the time results start pouring in for which this legislation has been introduced for public good.

This required two pronged strategy, the one formulate the strategy  to bring in the results  with a greater efficiency with a single minded resolve  to check the menace ensure ever section of the rules is adhered to in letter and spirits to the last line. And second to embark upon massive awareness campaign , involving Opinion leaders, Gram Panchayats, NGOs, Students of all categories right from School up to Universities, Women Brigades, every one matters in this venture. But neither deliverance system seems to be in performance nor has any awareness campaign been under taken.

Needless to add even after launching of much lauded Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Swachh Bharat Mission is a nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2013 to 2019 that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas. On which trillions has said to be used diverted funds from other vital sectors to this darling project of the Primie Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi much of which went to media hype than in the cleaning venture. And result reveals that both the capital cities of the state Srinagar the Paradise and Jammu the city of Temples, cleanliness is the godliness, has jumped up  on the ladder of most polluted cities in the country. Besides it on the five years monitoring about Air quality, these both of these Capital cities rank  at 28 & 29 most polluted cities among 120.

Recent reports poured in Air pollution in the country has reduced Age span by 2.7 % due to it. This writer has observed due to pollution generated around us due to negligence of the authorities to avoid, contain and reserves has resulted in diseased born new born ratio ever increasing. Why authorities fail to deliver, and what makes to higher echelon in the administrative set up to overlook, the spirit of transparency and accountability is not hard to comprehend even to the lower strata impervious strata of our society. It reminds to silence public outcry for unbridled corruption in the country then Government constituted a Committee. headed by N.N.Vohra then the Secretary Home Affairs to Government of India, Known as the Vohra committee .

It was asked study the problem of the criminalization of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India. He submitted the report in October 1993, It observed that The nexus between the criminal gangs, police, bureaucracy and politicians The money power is used to develop a network of muscle-power which is also used by the politicians during elections.” . The Supreme Court, recommended in 1997 to appointment of a high level committee to ensure in-depth investigation into the findings of the N.N.Vohra Committee and to secure prosecution of those involved. And nothing heard thereafter .And when he assumed charge of the Governor, it was expected he shall take of care what he had found the nexus during his investigation. Unfortunately it proved a catalytic agent for corruption by adopting a mute spectator going around in the state brought to his notice through media, representation and secret dossiers.

 And new dispensation the Governors rule of Sat Paul,Malik  there after the  under the umbrella of Presidents rule which listens obliviously to the dictates of the Centre. State feel betrayed the public trust in the deliverance system to ensure a clean environ as enshrined in the constitution one of the fundamental rights. Gone are the days when any one drink from any source available, breath harmless air, munch on the unadulterated diets despite limited resource but Nature had enough to provide.Justice Markandey Katju   has most aptly  for corruption that “the corrupt should be hanged from the lamp post as that was the only way of getting rid of corruption in the country.”   Extended producer’s responsibility” means the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life. 

The concept was first formally introduced in Sweden by Thomas Lindquist in a 1990 report to the Swedish Ministry of the Environment. In subsequent reports prepared for the Ministry, the following definition emerged: “[EPR] is an environmental protection strategy to reach an environmental objective of a decreased total environmental impact of a product, by making the manufacturer of the product responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product and especially for the take-back, recycling and final disposal. It had pronounced effect in the developed countries. 

Whereas in this country the Centre published the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules in 2016, a key element of it was “extended producer responsibility” or EPR. The idea of EPR was to make the polluter pay. So, all sellers of plastic packaging were required to, within six months, install a system to collect their waste. It is over the last one year, the CPCB has begun imposing EPR waste-recovery targets. Plus, it has started listing Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs), to whom manufacturers can outsource their obligations. These efforts have given a fillip to recycling efforts. 

Primary responsibility for collection of used multi-layered plastic sachet or pouches or packaging is of Producers, Importers and Brand Owners who introduce the products in the market. They need to establish a system for collecting back the plastic waste generated due to their products. Prescribed authority in this regard is the State Pollution Control Board and Pollution,which owes an explanation to the society in general. 

Because it is the State Pollution Control Board  who has to prepare and submit an annual report in Form VI to the CPCB on the implementation of these rules by the 31st July, of every year;

 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
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