Ban toxic wastes import, Supreme Court tells Centre

Ban toxic wastes import, Supreme Court tells Centre

Protect Indian coastline by following international treaty

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to enforce ban on import of all hazardous and environmentally detrimental materials as decided in 1989 BASEL convention.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameswar said that the international treaty should be strictly followed to protect Indian coastline.

“The Central government is also directed to ban import of all hazardous/toxic wastes which had been identified and declared to be so under the BASEL Convention and its different protocols.”

“The Central Government is also directed to bring the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, in line with the BASEL Convention and Articles 21 (life and liberty), 47 (nutrition) and 48A (environmental protection) of the Constitution,” the bench said.

The apex court’s order came while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by NGO Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Science Policy. The bench, however, rejected a plea of the petitioner to declare the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, as unconstitutional, saying that its provisions are in aid and not in derogation of the Constitution.

India became a signatory to the BASEL Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements on Hazardous Wastes and their disposal on September 22, 1992.

“While the BASEL convention prohibited the import of certain hazardous substances…in order to prevent pollution of the seas, under the MARPOL Convention the signatory countries are under an obligation to accept the discharge of oil wastes from ships.”

“What is, therefore, important is for the concerned authorities to ensure that such waste oil is not allowed to contaminate the surrounding areas and also, if suitable, for the purposes of recycling, to allow recycling of the same under strict supervision with entrusted units and, thereafter, to oversee its distribution for reuse,” the bench said.

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