The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday directed the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to conduct a study to ascertain whether cigarette and bidi butts fall within the category of toxic waste.
A Bench headed by NGT judicial member Justice Raghuvendra S. Rathore directed the Environment Ministry to get the study done by Lucknow based-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) within a period of two months.
The Bench, also comprising Justice Satyawan S. Garbyal said, “In case on the basis of the analysis by IITR, Lucknow, it is determined that cigarette butts fall within the category of toxic waste, then the Ministry is directed to immediately come out with appropriate rules in this regard.”
The Ministry has been directed to formulate the rules within one month of IITR submitting the report.
The directions came after the Central Pollution Control Board informed the green panel that it does not have the infrastructure to determine as to whether the butts fall under the category of toxic waste. Earlier, the NGT had asked the Centre to clarify its stand on the issue following the Ministry’s submissions that the waste was “biodegradable”.
The directions came on a plea which sought directions to the Centre to declare cigarette and bidi butts as “toxic waste”.