The Prayas ePathshala

Exams आसान है !

02 May 2024 – The Hindu


Extreme Pollution in Himalayan States


  • They are created when big plastic items that are disposed of incorrectly break down and fragment.
  • There has been evidence of microplastic deposition and buildup in rivers, lakes, streams, and the Himalayan ranges.
  • When snowmelt releases microplastics into rivers, they can remain trapped in glaciers for extended periods of time.

The effect on the Himalayan ecology:

  • In the Indian Himalayan Region, careless plastic dumping is polluting the land and water.
  • It is having an effect on biodiversity.
  • detrimental effect on the freshwater resources that downstream communities rely on.
  • The plastic trash dilemma in the Indian Himalayan Region is a result of rapid and unplanned urbanisation as well as shifting production and consumption habits.
  • The situation is getting worse because of the sudden increase in visitor numbers.


  • The Social Development for Communities (SDC) Foundation in Dehradun draws attention to the predicament facing Uttarakhand’s municipalities.
  • Plastic has overtaken almost all of the mountain states.
  • The Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, the Deputy Commissioner Lahaul and Spiti, the Panchayat of Koksar, the MEFCC, and the CPCB received notices from the National Green Tribunal.
  • on the disposal of rubbish by visitors and businesses in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Rather than fish from the wetland, larger adjutant storks have been eating on the plastic garbage in the landfill at the Deepor Beel Ramsar site in Assam.
  • There has been much coverage of the increasing pollution of Manipur’s rivers, especially the Nambul.

The 2018–21 Himalayan Cleanup:

  • carried out by the National Productivity Council of India’s waste and brand audit, as well as the Integrated Mountain Initiative with Zero Waste Himalayas
  • It demonstrates the rise of plastic garbage in the Indian Himalayan Region, particularly non-recyclables.
  • 72% of waste was non-recyclable plastic, accounting for 7% of trash in the Himalayan Cleanup (2022) waste audit data.

The management of plastic trash in India:

  • Plastic Overshoot Day is observed by Environment Action, a Swiss organisation.
  • On January 6, 2023, India saw its plastic overshoot day.
  • India has one of the highest global mismanaged waste indexes (MWI) at 98.55% (after Mozambique, Kenya, and Nigeria).
  • It represents the discrepancy between plastic usage and waste management capability.
  • According to a statistical analysis conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) utilising data from CPCBs, India is only recycling 12% of its plastic trash through mechanical recycling.

The legal requirement for waste management:

The regulatory structure:

  • The 2016 Solid Waste Management Regulations (SWM)
  • The 2016 Regulations for Plastic Waste Management (PWM)
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), effective 2022
  • The SWM acknowledges the unique requirements of hilly regions; nevertheless, it does not take these into account when formulating guidelines for local organisations and producers, importers, and brand owners (PIBOs).
  • PWM and EPR have failed to acknowledge the unique requirements of the hills.
  • Certain State regulations in Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim prohibit the usage of plastics.
  • Himachal Pradesh offers a buy-back programme for waste plastic that is single-use and non-recyclable.
  • Plastic garbage littering is still a major problem.
  • Sikkim boasts a reasonably strong regulatory framework and outlawed the use of packaged mineral water as of January 2022.
  • The State is still battling with the problem of handling plastic garbage in the absence of adequate infrastructure.
  • Mizoram has taken the lead in regulatory matters; in 2019, the Aizawl Municipal Corporation created by-laws under the PWM.
  • Although the results are not yet apparent, Tripura has changed its policies, passed local bylaws, and established a task force at the state level to eradicate single-use plastic.

What actions are necessary?

  • The SWM/PWM/EPR collective mandate necessitates waste segregation at the source.
  • Any approach to dispose of plastic garbage in a sustainable and scientific manner must first separate the various forms of plastics.
  • Local bodies are responsible for waste management under the SWM, PWM, and EPR, from collection to scientific disposal.
  • As required by the EPR, they might enlist the assistance of PIBOs in order to set up and operationalize the plastic waste management system.
  • Despite being the centre of the nation’s waste management system, local entities have not yet received a corresponding amount of authority devolution.
  • Very few local entities have created by-laws to operationalize the mandate, and few States have passed model by-laws.
  • When it comes to the Indian Himalayan Region (common in several northeastern States), traditional institutions must be included in the definition of local bodies.
  • Funding for these established institutions was provided by the Fifteenth Finance Commission and the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

The Way Ahead:

  • The Indian Himalayan Region has to be supported and resourced appropriately, taking into account its great biodiversity, ecological sensitivity, and fragility.
  • In addition to considering the unique geographic difficulties associated with garbage management in mountains.
  • Immediate focus must be given to building the infrastructure required for trash management and empowering local bodies.
  • Waste segregation and public participation in this effort, aided by ongoing public education programmes, are essential.
  • Targets under the EPR may lose their geographic neutrality if the greater operationalization costs in the mountainous area are properly taken into account.
  • For each tonne of plastic waste handled, a PIBO in the Indian Himalayan Region may get an EPR certificate worth more than one acquired elsewhere in the nation.
  • It is necessary to close data gaps about the quantity and kind of garbage produced in the Indian Himalayan Region States.
  • Infrastructure development, upkeep, and operations might be funded by convergence in already-existing programmes like SBM, the Finance Commission’s awards, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
  • Additional funding could be obtained through the Swachh Bharat Kosh Trust, which was established to help direct charitable donations and corporate social responsibility funds to this initiative.
  • Numerous cities in the Indian Himalayan Region are chosen under the Smart Cities Initiative and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
  • On the issues of scientific waste management and eliminating plastic from cities in the Indian Himalayan Region, they may collaborate.

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