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Experts deliberate on producers' responsibility for waste

Staff Reporter
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H.C. Sharathchandra, former Pollution Control Board Chairman (right), and Almitra Patel, member of Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management, at a discussion in Bangalore on Monday. — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
H.C. Sharathchandra, former Pollution Control Board Chairman (right), and Almitra Patel, member of Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management, at a discussion in Bangalore on Monday. — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

A survey conducted in 2010 finds that over a decade after a battery take-back policy was put into effect, under the Battery (Manufacturing and Handling) Rules, the compliance is an appalling 24 to 30 per cent across the country.

While varied factors contribute to the non-implementation of the rules, experts and stake-holders deliberated on Monday the critical issue of Extended Producer Responsibility, and how to take this concept beyond mere rules and create an atmosphere where companies, dealers and consumers work together to manage waste effectively.

The panel discussion, which had experts from industry, non-governmental organisations and the public sector participating, was held on day seven of the 14-day Recycling Habba 2011, organised by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and Solid Waste Management Round Table, a civil society group.

Talking about the poor implementation of the battery take-back rules, and other lax rules when it comes to labelling and declaring the content in products that are potentially toxic, Almitra Patel, member of the Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management, said that though implementation is poor, “we still need strong laws and policies that will force manufacturers to behave responsibly,” and apply the same standards and thresholds that these companies follow world-wide.

Panellists agreed that “we must put a complete stop to several products that are harmful to the environment” along with developing a law that is conducive to creating a society that can make a mindset shift to recycling.

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