Wednesday October 24, 2018
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Polluting environs to be termed as minor offence, littering in open may draw penalty

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, in an attempt to give Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a legal affect, will make littering in the open, dumping electronic waste, defacement of public places and use of banned plastic bags a “minor offence” with monetary penalties on the spot.

Minor offence will also include “manufacturing, possession and use of restricted or prohibited substance such as plastic bags below the prescribed thickness and violation of their disposal, including electronic waste”.

The Indian Express reported that to promote public awareness on cleanliness, the Environmental Laws (Amendment) Bill will be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament to club these violations as non-cognizable crime.

“The Environment (Protection) Act (EPA) does not allow civil financial penalties to usher an active enforcement of environmental laws. And the existing criminal settlement alone is not proving effective. Penalty checks and public participation will lead to in-built social check”, reported the news paper.

The report stated that the Bill will specify minor offence in the EPA that will not involve filing an FIR or arrest. However it will attract a fine on the spot as happens in the case of “making atmosphere noxious to health” which attracts a fine of Rs 500. The required amount of fine will be governed under local municipal laws, within rules prescribed by the central law.

Prakash Javadekar, Environment and Forests Minister, has been rooting for bringing changes in the EPA to make compliance mechanism to discourage pollution, more effective.

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Biggest Ocean Polluters Named to be Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle: Study

Eighty per cent of the 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic produced since 1950 was still present in the environment, mainly in the oceans.

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Ocean , Wikimedia

Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle are among the companies that contribute most to ocean pollution with single-use plastics, according to a study presented on Tuesday by the “Break Free from Plastic” initiative.

The environmental movement, launched in 2016, has helped clear the coasts of 42 countries around the world of discarded plastics.

“These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Von Hernandez, the Global Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, at the presentation of the study in Manila.

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Plastic pollution, Pixabay

Between September 9 and 15, over 10,000 volunteers carried out 239 plastic cleaning actions on coasts and other natural environments in 42 countries, Efe news reported.

They collected more than 187,000 pieces of plastic, of which more than 65 per cent were from products by Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle. But companies such as Danone, Mondelez, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, among others, were also mentioned in the report.

“The companies have a choice to make. They can be part of the problem or they can be part of the solution”, Hernandez told Efe.

“If they continue the use of problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging they are just encouraging more production and more pollution”.

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Coca Cola is known to spend a huge amount of money on its advertisement campaigns. Wikimedia Common

Around 100,000 pieces of plastic collected were made of materials like polystyrene, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or the film of single-use plastic that were not biodegradable, the report said.

Plastic production has reached 320 million metric tonnes per year and is expected to grow by 40 per cent over the next decade, which will exponentially increase the release of greenhouse gases. Ninety per cent of plastics are produced from fossil fuels and pollutants.

“We must act now to demand that corporate brands reject their overpackaging habit in order to meaningfully reverse the demand for new plastic,” said Hernandez.

The study said that these large corporations must take responsibility for polluting the environment, as production of plastics exposes harmful substances to communities living near factories and pollutes foods and products contained in plastic wraps.

Also Read: Use Every Resources To Help in Climate Change: Scientists

Eighty per cent of the 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic produced since 1950 was still present in the environment, mainly in the oceans, according to studies cited in the “Break Free From Plastic” report.

Since then, only 9 per cent of that plastic had been properly recycled and 12 per cent incinerated. (IANS)