Current Status on Waste Minimisation and Future Needs

- 4.0 Current Status on Waste Minimisation and Future Needs
- 4.2 Waste Minimisation Audit / Assessment
- 4.3. Environmental Management System
- 4.4 Future Needs

4.0 Current Status on Waste Minimisation and Future Needs
Waste Minimisation has been identified as a strategic tool under the new environmental policy and planning regime.

In year 1992 the Government of India brought out its Policy Document on Abatement of Pollution in which Pollution Prevention is right on the top as stated in the excerpt given below:

3.1 It is not enough for the Government to notify laws which are to be complied with. A positive attitude on the part of everyone in society is essential for the prevention of pollution and wide consultation has been held with those who will ultimately implement the policy.

3.2 A comprehensive approach is taken to integrate environmental and economic aspects in development planning. Stress is laid on preventive aspects for pollution abatement and promotion of technological inputs to reduce industrial pollutants and through reliance upon public cooperation in securing a clean environment to response to the new challenges.

3.3 The object is to integrate environmental considerations into decision making at all level. To achieve this steps have to be taken to:
prevent pollution at source........

At the Central Government level, the importance of waste minimisation has been well appreciated and few significant steps have been taken in this direction. It would be worthwhile to mention a few initiatives namely

- Environmental Statements
A notable initiative taken by the Government was mandatory requirement of submission of annual 'Environmental Statement' by the industries requiring consent under the Air or Water Act or authorisation under the Environment (Protection) Act. 1986. The explicit purpose of Environmental Statement is to identify, the potential for waste minimisation and also to develop appropriate measures both at policy level as well as unit level to exploit this potential.

- Sector Specific 'Waste Minimisation' assessment manuals
The Ministry of Environment & Forests is bringing out sector specific manuals on waste minimisation through National Productivity Council. Till date the technical manuals in respect of agro-based pulp and paper sector, pesticides formulation sector and synthetic textile dyeing & printing processes have been prepared. A generic guideline manual "From Wastes to Profits" has also been brought out.

- Establishment of Waste Minimisation Circles
The project on establishment of Waste Minimisation Circles (currently in second phase) is an important initiative undertaken by MoEF and NPC with financial support received from the World Bank. Through the project the concept of waste minimisation, its need and economic and environmental benefits is being demonstrated in a large number of industrial clusters through participative / group approach. Through WMC Facilitators trained under the capacity building component of the project, the concept and relevance of Waste Minimisation assessment is being taken to the doorstep of Indian industry. It is expected to culminate into a WM Movement bringing in its wake substantial long term economic and environmental benefits to the country.

4.2 Waste Minimisation Audit / Assessment
The first organised initiative in this direction came as late as 1993, through NPC when the the UNIDO sponsored project "DESIRE" - Demonstration in Small Industries for Reducing Waste - project was undertaken. The application of a systematic approach developed under the project for adopting Waste Minimisation / Cleaner Production, had for the first time drawn attention to the practical possibilities of waste minimisation. The project demonstrated that nearly 20% reduction in waste generation is possible through simple house keeping measures requiring nil or marginal investments with a pay back period generally of less than one year. NPC has subsequently been able to develop a cadre of specialists on this subject. NPC has also developed a methodology for waste minmisation assessment suitable for Indian small scale industries. This simple and systematic methodology has been tried out in a number of industries and has been found to be comparatively more useful than the methods proposed by agencies like UNEP, USEPA etc., which are suitable for application in industries in developed countries. The other institutions involved in waste minimisation studies include Central Pollution Control Board, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Anna University, Madras, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur and Confederation of Indian Industries, New Delhi.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests, New Delhi has chalked out a programme to establish a National Clearing House for Clean Technology at the Ministry with the assistance from World Bank in order to promote the development, diffusion and transfer of technologies with environmental benefits for industrial sector.

A major constraint in developing Waste Minimisation Audit capability in the private sector is related to the absence of infrastructural facilities, particularly for monitoring and analysis of waste streams. Reasonably priced reliable instruments are as yet not available indigenously. The prohibitive cost of imported equipment preclude their procurement and use.

4.3. Environmental Management System
Environmental Management System is the new tool and area of specialisation that has come to be applied for improving environmental performance of Industries. Confederation of Indian Industry and National Productivity Council (NPC) have been at the starting block to develop expertise in implementation of Environmental Management Systems. NPC has already assisted several companies in establishing sound Environmental Management System and in obtaining ISO 14000 certification (Note : Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Barauni is the first company to be certified for ISO-14000 in India through NPC's assistance). It is perceived that there will be a spurt in the demand of specialists in Environmental Management Systems. Appropriate training would be essential for existing experts working on ISO 9000 Certification procedures to switch over ISO 14000 Certification System.

4.4 Future Needs
As discussed a lot of effort has already been done to promote the concept of Waste Minimisation Assessment in Indian industry. However, much more needs to be done especially in areas such as :

- Establishment of National Environmental Policies and provisions for continuous review
- Capacity Building in areas such as Waste Minimisation assessments, ISO 14000 Certification procedures etc.
- Organising financial support for Waste Mininimisation Demonstration Projects
- Introduction of latest technology and development of mechanism for its smooth adaptation in Indian industry etc.