On June 8, 2020, the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) published its Annual Report for 2019 (hereinafter referred to as the “Report”). This report covers a wide range of topics including natural resource research and development, ecosystem protection, environmental impact assessment, pollution reduction and environmental education. This article provides an overview of the following.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
The concept of EIA was first used in India in 1978 and the process for Environmental Clearance has been promulgated in the notification published in 2006. From April 2019 to December 2019, MoEFCC had granted Environmental Clearances to 322 projects (Industry: 171; Infrastructure/Construction: 115; Mining: 18; Geothermal: 3; Valley: 5; Nuclear; National Defense: 10).
Hazardous Substance Management
In India, safety management is controlled by rules on waste management and chemical safety and the activities carried out in FY 2019 are as follows (excerpted below).
- In March 2019, the “Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016” was amended to ban the import of solid plastic waste.
- Guideline for the elimination of single-use plastics has been issued in all states.
- MoEFCC has implemented a project on the environmentally sound management and final disposal of PCBs, treating and dechlorinating about 112 tonnes of PCB-containing oil in 2019.
- A draft National Action Plan on Chemicals has been prepared.
- A draft soil sampling protocol was developed.
- An action plan for the elimination of single-use plastics by 2022 has been developed.
Eco-Mark Scheme (voluntary scheme) was launched in 1991 and has covered 17 products including soap, paints, paper, plastics, cosmetics, textiles, batteries and packaging materials. As proof of a less hazardous product, it is sent out to the public as an indicator of purchase consideration to consumers. There are no outward reports of activity in 2019, but the scheme is still managed as a valid scheme.
2019 Annual Report can be downloaded from the following URL.