India - Ban on Import of Hazardous Wastes/Basel Convention
RESEARCH FOUNDATION FOR SCIENCES,
TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL RESOURCE
POLICY v. UNION OF INDIA
"The learned Additional Solicitor General stated on instructions that the quantity of hazardous waste generated in the country each day is about two thousand tons. This fact alone indicated sufficiently the magnitude of the problem and the promptitude with which it need to be tackled before the damage becomes irreversible. There is, therefore, no time to lose. Prompt action is required to be taken not only by the Central Government but also by all the State Governments as well as the Central and State pollution Control Board. It is obvious that there has been considerable inaction so far by all the concerned authorities, including the Pollution Control Boards. Authorisation/Permission granted so far without the availability of the required safe disposal sites is a matter of serious concern and will require further examination to fix the responsibility of the person whose duty it is to ensure availability of safe disposal sites at the time of granting authorisation/permission. However, it is necessary that the suitable direction may be given at this stage to prevent as much damage in the future as possible on account of the unchecked activity of import/generation/disposal of hazardous waste in the country.
The learned Additional Solicitor General also submitted that appropriate directions by this Court are necessary to ensure performance of duty by the State Government, the Pollution Control Board and Other concerned authorities. The learned ASG has also submitted a memorandum prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests indicating the tasks accomplished by the MoE&F so far and the proposed action planned by it.
(l) Notice to all the State Governments and the State Pollution Control Board to file their reply within four weeks of the receipt of the notice of the action taken by them in this behalf, particularly with reference to the identification/notification and availability of safe disposal sites, the steps taken to ensure safe disposal of hazardous waste in their state, particularly while granting any authorisation/permission. They must also indicate the action plan, if any, made by them for tackling the problem relating to hazardous waste.
(2) With effect from today no authorisation/permission would be given by any authority for the import which have already been banned by the Central Government or by any order made by any court or any other authority.
(3) With effect from today, no import would be made or permitted by any authority or any person of any hazardous waste that is already banned under the Basel convention, or to be banned hereafter, with effect from the date specified therein.
In view of the magnitude of the problem and its impact, the State Governments are also required to show cause why an order be not made directing closure of the units utilising the hazardous waste where provision is not already made for requisite safe disposal site. Cause be also shown as to why immediate order be not made for the closure of all unauthorised hazardous wastes handling units.
The notices to the State Governments and the State Pollution Control Board be served through the Central Agency."
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