India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced changes to hazardous waste laws, reversing exemptions from its 2016 ban on solid plastic imports.
Under previous laws, companies in designated economic development areas were exempt from the ban.
The change comes after the country saw an increase in waste imports as a result of the market vacuum generated by China’s National Sword policy.
The export oriented units clause, which gave local governments the ability to procure resources from abroad, has also been removed.
The ministry said changes were made in accordance with the ‘Make in India initiative’ by simplifying procedures and upholding principals of sustainable development and lessened environmental impact.
The ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched in 2014 with the goal of making India a sustainable global manufacturing hub.
The change follows India’s commitment to phase out single-use plastics by 2022.
Some of the features of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019, include prohibiting solid plastic was from being imported into the country, including in special economic zones and by export orientated units.
Electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, if found defective can now be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.