Environment Current Affairs 2017

NGT bans use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in Delhi

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed an interim ban on use of non-biodegradable plastic bags which are less than 50 microns in the entire national capital Delhi.

It also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found in possession of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns, which is the thickness of a human hair.

NGT order

NGT ordered Delhi government to seize entire stock of the banned plastic bags within a week. Besides, it asked Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Delhi Government to file an affidavit on steps taken to implement the ban. It also imposed an environment compensation of Rs. 10,000 on vegetable vendors and slaughter houses for throwing garbage in public places.

Plastic waste

Non-biodegradable plastic waste has been identified as one of the major source of environmental pollution as they don’t decay naturally. These bags have zero reusable value. Besides choking drains, water-bodies and adding to the load of the already-exhausted landfill sites, there are also cases of cattle eating and dying after choking on plastic bags.

According to plastic bag manufacturers, the market share of thin plastic bags (less than 50 microns) is not more than 25%. Mostly the banned bags are made by unregistered units which find many takers because of their cheaper products.

Most of the garbage bags used at homes are above 50 microns. Their use and manufacturing is already banned under the Plastic Management Handling Rules, 2016. The NGT in 2017 had banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and NCR with effect from January 1, 2017 and directed the city government to take steps to reduce dumped waste.

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India ratifies 2nd commitment period of Kyoto Protocol

India has ratified the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (or Doha Amendment) that commits countries to contain the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). In this regard, India deposited its Instrument of Acceptance of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.

With this, India became the 80th country to accept the amendment relating to the second commitment period (2013- 2020) of the Kyoto Protocol.

About Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international GHGs emissions reduction treaty linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It commits its Parties by setting internationally binding GHGs emission reduction targets. It was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 and entered into force in February 2005.

The protocol is based on principle of equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR). It places obligations on developed nations to undertake mitigation targets to reduce emissions and provide financial resources and technology to developing nations. Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was from 2008-2012. The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol or Doha Amendment for 2013-2020 period was adopted in 2012. The amendment includes new commitments for parties to the Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period and a revised list of GHGs to be reported on by Parties.

Comment

The ratification of second protocol reaffirms India’s stand on climate action. It also further underlines India’s leadership in the comity of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice. It will encourage other developing countries also to undertake this exercise. Under the second commitment period, implementation of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects will help Indian attract some investments.

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