MSW Management

Dominoes Falling

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I’m going to admit this to only you. Every now and then I like to go on YouTube and watch videos of falling dominoes. There’s something about the lengthy precision involved in setting them up and then seeing them fall. You probably know that some of these falling dominoes displays even reveal surprising pictures as the dominoes fall. They also climb stairs and split off into separate sets and then reunite again into a single line. And though it might be a complete waste of time, once I see the first domino fall I have to watch the entire run, right up to the last domino falling.

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And know this, videos of dominoes falling are not always of dominoes.

You’ll notice that some domino falls go down much more slowly than others. Some pieces don’t fall exactly where they were intended. Other displays fail, stopping right in the middle of a run.

I’m wondering if we’re watching another domino fall with India announcing earlier this month its ban on importing solid plastic waste and recyclables.

The press release from India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, says:

In order to strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste in the country, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has amended the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 vide notification G.S.R.  G.S.R. XX (E), dated 01 March 2019.

The amendment has been done keeping into consideration the “Ease of Doing Business” and boosting “Make in India” initiative by simplifying the procedures under the Rules, while at the same time upholding the principles of sustainable development and ensuring minimal impact on the environment.

Some of the salient features of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management& Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019 are as follows:

  1. Solid plastic waste has been prohibited from import into the country including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented Units (EOU).
  2. Exporters of silk waste have now been given exemption from requiring permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  3. Electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, if found defective can now be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  4. Industries which do not require consent under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, are now exempted from requiring authorization also under the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, provided that hazardous and other wastes generated by such industries are handed over to the authorized actual users, waste collectors or disposal facilities.

SWANA’s executive director and CEO David Biderman reacted to the news saying, “SWANA monitors relevant international developments closely, and shares them with key U.S. agencies. For example, I emailed our contacts at the US EPA, State Department and Commerce department about India’s announcement within an hour of receiving the news. Most of them responded quickly and were very thankful for the information.”

He went on to predict “Because India receives less than 13 percent of U.S. exported plastic, I do not expect the announcement to have a significant impact on most SWANA members or many recycling programs. However, it is bad news, as India was one of the larger Asian recipients of paper and plastic in the wake of China’s imposition of import restrictions last year.”

I happen to share David Biderman’s view of the impact of India’s announcement. But then, what may be significant to one may not be to another.

As we’ve seen from the effects of China’s National Sword, the global recycling industry is as intricate and complex as it is vast. Do you think we’re watching dominoes fall? Will India’s announcement affect you?

Please let me know in the comments section below. MSW_bug_web

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