Ministry of Environment Current Affairs - 2019
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Over 25 State governments missed the deadline for submitting their action plans on systematic disposal of plastic waste to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The April 30 deadline set by National Green Tribunal has expired and thus states may have to pay a fine as environment compensation of ₹1 crore each.
Background: In early 2019, National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed all States and Union Territories (except Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Puducherry) to submit an action plan for compliance of PWM (Plastic Waste Mnagement) Rules and submit the same to CPCB by 30 April 2019. Moreover, NGT ordered that if any state fails to submit action plans within designated deadline it will have to pay the pollution body compensation at the rate of ₹1 crore per month after 1 May 2019.
Arguments by CPCB
- The conditions of waste management in country are poor as states do not prioritise plastic and solid waste management rules. Waste management is considered last in the list of priorities of state’s municipal corporations.
- Initially the States did not comply with CPCB orders, so it moved the NGT. Now the states are violating NGT orders, so they have to pay price for their laxity.
- The CPCB will now inform NGT about non-compliance and make states pay heavy amount for default. In some cases punishment not just includes compensation but imprisonment too.
Cause of Non-Compliance
- The main reason for non-compliance of plastic waste management rules is the lack of knowledge and updates among concerned State authorities such as state pollution control boards.
- There is also a communication gap between Ministry of environment, central government officials and state level government officials responsible for waste management compliance.
The Ministry of Environment thus needs to conduct regular awareness programmes in states to educate state-level officials to carry out necessary measures to segregate plastic and dispose it.
Ahead of International Day of Biological Diversity (celebrated on 22 May), an awareness campaign was launched by the name of ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ to be displayed at major airports across India.
Key Highlights about Campaign
- To raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade
- To garner public support for conservation and protection of wildlife, prevention from smuggling and for reduction in demand of wildlife products.
- It also complements worldwide action taken on illegal trade in wildlife via UN Environment’s global campaign called Wild for Life.
- Launched By: United Nation (UN) Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India. Both WCCB and UN Environment started a comprehensive approach with focus on awareness building towards issue of prevention of illegal trade, smuggling of wildlife (and wildlife products) through exit points.
- Inauguration: Campaign was inaugurated by Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador (and also UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate), in presence of officials from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India (WCCB), UN Environment, UN agencies and GMR Group.
- Coverage: In collaboration with Airports Authority of India (AAI) and GMR Group, the campaign is set to travel across 22 airports across India over the next year.
- Need: Illegal wildlife trade drives a species to brink of extinction. With a thriving organized wildlife crime industry, the crime chains are spreading across world and India is also seeing a sharp rise in its illegal trade in wildlife. Thus there is an urgent need for awareness, action and stringent law enforcement to curb illegal wildlife trade which is threatening biodiversity and conservation in wild.
- Importance: Conservation is natural to India’s ethos. Although, while wildlife faces global threat and India’s flora and fauna’s demand continues to rise in illegal global markets, India’s stringent provisions for protection of wildlife under its Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and efforts towards creating awareness among public at large would still have to go a long way to help protect our wildlife. Thus, campaign is an important step forward in creating much-needed awareness and regaining public attention on wildlife trafficking which threatens very survival of these species.
- Species covered: In First Phase of the campaign, Tiger, Star Tortoise, Pangolin and Tokay Gecko are featured. They have been chosen as they are highly endangered because of illegal trading in International markets. Second Phase will see more threatened species.
- Tiger is trafficked for its skin, body parts and bones.
- Pangolin, is most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet. It is trafficked for its meat and for its scales which are used in traditional medicines.
- Star Tortoise is trafficked for pet trade and meat.
- Tokay Gecko is trafficked for its use in traditional medicine, mostly into South East Asia (SEA) but mainly Chinese Markets.
About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
- WCCB is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by Government of India (GoI) under Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), to combat organized wildlife crime in India.
- It assists Customs authorities in inspection of consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions laid down in Wild Life Protection Act (WPA), 1972, (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Export-import (EXIM) Policy governing such an item.
Tags: AAI and GMR Group • Airports Authority of India • CITES • Dia Mirza • Forest and Climate Change • Ministry of Environment • Pangolin • Star Tortoise • Tiger • Tokay Gecko • UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador • United Nation Environment India • WCCB • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau • Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972