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Hazardous Substances Management

The major functions of the Hazardous Substances Management Division (HSMD) include regulatory activities for framing necessary Rules relating to environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes/chemicals, plastics and municipal sold wastes under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and promotional activities by providing necessary financial support to the concerned agencies for their implementation.

The Division is also responsible for planning, overseeing and implementation of the policies and programmes on the management of chemical emergencies and hazardous substances including hazardous wastes.

The mandate of this Division is to promote safety in the management and use of hazardous substances including hazardous chemicals and hazardous wastes with an objective to prevent and mitigate damage to health and environment due to hazardous chemicals and wastes.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency for the management and control of hazardous substances which include hazardous chemicals, waste and micro-organisms.  

The following rules have been notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986:

(i) Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals, 1989;

(ii) Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989;

(iii) Manufacture, Use, Import,Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cell, 1989 and

(iv) Biomedical Waste Rules, 1998.

A central control room has been set up in the Ministry to deal with emergencies arising from hazardous chemicals and a Crisis Alert System has been established.

Guidelines for preparation of crisis management plans have been issued to the state governments and financial support is being provided to them to strengthen infrastructure for the purpose. Emergency Response Centres have been set up at Bhopal, Baroda, Manali and Khapali.

The Red Book entitled ‘Central Crisis Group Alert System’, which includes names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Central and state authorities and experts to be contacted in case of emergency, has been updated and circulated to all concerned.

A sub-scheme entitled ‘Industrial Pocket-wise Hazard Analysis’ has been in operation since the Eighth Five Year Plan.  Hazard analysis studies of 37 industrial pockets have since been completed. The remaining 8 Hazard analysis studies are being offered to the consultants.

A Public Liability Insurance Act has been enacted to provide immediate relief to the victims of accidents by hazardous chemical industries.

India is a signatory to the UNEP-sponsored Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes which was adopted at Basel, Switzerland, by 126 governments of the world in 1989. The Convention aims at checking the reported illegal traffic in hazardous wastes from one country to another. 

A scheme on National Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (NRPTC) has been started for setting up the basic infrastructure for implementing the London guidelines for the exchange of information on chemicals in international trade, including the procedure for prior informed consent.

Nine Regional Registers (RRPTC) have been set up in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.

A National Poison Information Centre has been set up at the Department of Pharmacology in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. An antidote data-bank is being developed at the Centre. 

The Ministry has constituted a National Waste Management Council to suggest ways and means for effective utilisation of wastes generated in the country.

Three sub-groups have been set up by the Council to deal with the major categories of wastes, viz., industrial, urban and rural.

The sub-groups have been entrusted with the task of identifying wastes, suggesting technological action points, including legislation, taxes and incentives.



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