New Delhi, January 14: The National Green Tribunal has held that plastic pens are covered under Plastic Waste Management Rules and directed the environment ministry to finalise the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) regime for management of waste.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to coordinate with the state PCBs and State Level Monitoring Committees on EPR, The Hindu reported.

“Even though pen is not specifically mentioned under the rules, the same is certainly covered by definition of ‘plastic’ under Rule 3 (o) of the Plastic Waste Management Rule, 2016. Thus, pen is also covered by the statutory framework,” the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Avani Mishra against unchecked use of plastic pens having adverse impact on the environment.

The EPR liability is not being duly enforced, the plea alleged and suggested that policy of ‘buy back’ be introduced.

The applicant submitted that 27 lakh pens are produced per day and it is not possible for the Local Bodies to collect and treat the waste as contemplated under the rules.

“The cost of refill is high which encourages purchase of fresh pens and consumerism instead of going for refills to avoid waste. The waste is at times burnt causing pollution.

There is, thus, policy gap as pens do not find specific mention in the policies on waste management,” the petitioner said.

The CPCB had earlier told the green tribunal that the items covered under EPR in PWM Rules, 2018 are multi-layered plastic sachets or pouches or packaging, thus, items such as pens and other plastic products have not been covered under Extended Producers Liabilities.

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