In a move to create more sustainable solutions for better solid waste management, an environment interest litigation (EIL) has been filed by three women at the Western bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The petition states that manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers do not provide pouches or wrappers for their disposal which goes against the new Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
The EIL has been filed by Pune based, Law Student Purva Bora along with Supriya Jain, a Social Activist and Nagpur-based Advocate Smita Sarode Singalkar. The petition states that applicant Purva Bora, while studying the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, realised that they were not being implemented in practice as sanitary napkin manufacturers did not provide disposable bags with the purchase.
The petition further mentions, “Throughout her lifetime, a woman can use between 8,000 to 15,000 disposable pads, tampons and liners.” Parents who choose disposable diapers for their children can use up to 1,500 to 2,000 diapers till the child is two years old, the petition also states.
The NGT bench has issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) along with commissioners of Nagpur and Mumbai, the Director of The State Health Department, Principal Secretary of The Department of Urban Development and organisations such as Johnson and Johnson Private Ltd, Procter and Gamble India, Unicharm India Private Ltd and Kimberly Clark Lever Ltd.
“This is basically calling for implementation of Rule Number 17 of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, where pouches should be provided for disposable purposes along with budgetary allocation to assist with the management of sanitary waste. Along with that, the rule also states that such manufacturers have to educate the masses on wrapping and disposal of the product,” explains Asim Sarode, lawyer for the petitioners.
The EIL also quotes from a study conducted by the World Health Organisation on the harmful effects faced by sanitation workers while collecting exposed sanitary waste. “80 per cent of them have eye problems. 73 per cent have respiratory ailments. 40 per cent have skin problems or infections. 51 per cent have gastrointestinal ailments.”
The respondents have been asked to submit a response to the NGT by December 19.
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