- Waste is something which the owner
no longer wants at a given place and time and has
no current or perceived market value.
- Hazardous waste is waste that
has physical, chemical or biological characteristics
which require special handling and disposal procedure
to avoid risk to health and /or adverse environmental
- Hazard is a possibility of a toxic
effect being manifested upon exposure.
- Risk is a probability of hazard
- Toxicity is an adverse effect
upon a living species by a constituent administered
at a toxic concentration in a biologically available
form by a particular route and during a fixed exposure
time. A chemical is said to be highly toxic when
on laboratory test animals it is found that medium
lethal dose LD 50 by the oral route is 51 to 500
mg/l of body weight. If the dose of les than 50
mg/l bodyweight is lethal, the chemical is extremely
- A waste is said to be flammable
if the boiling point of gas at normal pressure is
20 degree or below, a liquid has a flash point lower
than 65 degree, a solid ca spontaneously combust
through friction, absorption or loss of moisture.
- A waste is said to be corrosive
if, it is aqueous and has a pH of 2 or less or has
12.5 or more pH or it is liquid and corrodes steel
at a rate 6.35 mm or more per year.
- A waste is called oxidizer if
a substance that yields oxygen readily when involved
in fire, there by intensifying the combustion of
- Short term acute hazards are acute
toxicity by ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption,
corrosivity or eye contact hazards or risk of fire
- Long-term environmental hazards
include chronic toxicity upon repeated exposure,
carcinogenicity, resistance to biodegradation, potential
to pollute water sources, or aesthetically objectionable.
- Hazardous waste belongs to a category
of special wastes containing certain chemicals,
metals, and pathogenic organisms which can cause
damage to the environment even at low concentration.
- As per the Hazardous Waste (Management
& Handling) Rules of 1989, means categories
of wastes specified in the schedule or any waste
which by reason of its chemical or physical properties
or handling is liable to cause harm to human beings,
other living creatures, plants, micro-organism,
property or the environment.
- Hazardous waste is that which
is scheduled and is in a certain stipulated yearly
- A solid waste not falling in the
description and quantity stipulated in the schedule
of H W (M & H) Rules 1989 is not a hazardous
- A hazardous waste may be a solid,
liquid, slurry, or even gaseous form.
- Hazardous waste site is merely
a place approved for handling and managing the waste.
(i. e. collection, reception, treatment, storage
and disposal), while facility is a location where
various processes and activities are going on for
handling and managing the waste. the site may become
a facility in course of time.
2. Rules regarding
management of hazardous wastes.
The Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules,
1989 were introduced under Sections 6, 8, and 25 of
the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 (referred to
as HWM Rules 1989). The HWM Rules, 1989 provide for
the control of generation, collection, treatment, transport,
import, storage and disposal of wastes listed in the
schedule annexed to these rules. The rules are implemented
through the SPCBs and pollution control committees in
the states and union territories. India is also a signatory
to the Basel Convention, 1989 on the Control of Trans-boundary
Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. There
were a few inherent limitations to the implementation
of the HWM Rules, 1989, and amendments to this Rule
were introduced in 2000 and 2002, widening the definition
of hazardous waste and harmonizing the hazardous waste
list with that of the Basel Convention.
Besides these rules, in 1991, the MoEF issued Guidelines
for Management and Handling of Hazardous Wastes for
(a) generators of waste, (b) transport of hazardous
waste, and (c) owners/operators of hazardous waste storage,
treatment and disposal facilities. These guidelines
also established mechanisms for the development of a
reporting system for the movement of hazardous waste
(the manifest system) and for the first time, established
procedures for closure and post-closure requirements
for landfills. In 1995, these were followed by the publication
of Guidelines for Safe Road Transport of Hazardous Chemicals
that established basic rules for Hazardous Goods Transport
and provided for the establishment of a Transport Emergency
Plan and for provisions on Identification and Assessment
In addition to these
direct rules dealing with issues of hazardous waste
management, the Government has moved to enact legislation
and additional incentives for industries to comply with
environmental provisions and bring out market forces
into the business of environment. In this vein, the
Public Liability Act 1991 was adopted to require industries
dealing with hazards to ensure against accidents or
damages caused by release of pollutants. The National
Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995, provides for expeditious
remedies to parties injured by environmental crimes.
Legislation on the Community's Right to Know, 1996,
has been adopted to provide more access to information
regarding potential hazards from industrial operations.
- The rules provide for a control
on the generation collection, treatment, import,
storage and disposal of hazardous wastes.
- The rules are applicable to wastes
defined as hazardous wastes. [ 18 categories }
- State pollution control boards
are the implementing authority.
- Wastes are not permitted to be
imported for dumping and disposal.
- Imports of wastes are allowed
for processing and reuse as raw material.
of hazardous wastes
The wastes enlisted in schedule are only termed as hazardous
and that too if it is in quantity more than stipulated
there in (regulatory quantities). the wastes are divided
in 18 categories, but can be regrouped for convenience
of learning as,
- Waste bearing certain heavy metals
or chemicals of heavy metals or waste from metal
- Hydrocarbon solvents both halogenated
- waste from certain industries
( paints, pigments, Dyes, pesticides, phenol and
- Oily and tarry wastes
- Sludge, slurries, discarded products
- Discarded containers
- Cyanide wastes.
The permissible quantity
bar is so low that almost every activity producing such
wastes will be covered. At least two categories are
covered fully irrespective of any quantity and they
are e and f of schedule. The hazardous categorized waste
lower in quantity than shown in schedule is not hazardous
by virtue of definition. Waste water, exhaust gases,
ships beyond 5 km in sea and radioactive wastes are
exempted as they are covered under other rules and regulations..
4. Grant of
Authorisation" means permission for collection,
reception, treatment, transport, storage and disposal
of hazardous wastes, granted by the competent authority
in Form 2; in rule 5, now SPCB is expected to process
authorization application for disposal of hazardous
waste within 90 days. Also, the fee of Rs. 7,500/- has
been stipulated and the authorization period has been
extended from two years to five years.
5. Import, Export, and Trans-boundary Transport
Recovery of useful materials from hazardous waste is
undoubtedly desirable for environmentally and economic
reasons. Over the years, recycling or recovery from
wastes has indeed become a thriving business all over
the world particularly in the developing countries.
While the industries in developed countries have adopted
state of the art technologies with environmental safeguards,
the entrepreneurs in developing countries, particularly
those in the small scale sector, continues to operate
with the crude technologies with scant regards for environmental
safety. In some developed countries, with the increasing
environmental consciousness and stringent regulations,
recycling and disposal of wastes demand a sizable expenditure.
Under such a situation, the industries prefer to export
their wastes to other countries. This lead to increased
trade in trans-boundary transfer of wastes particularly
to the developing countries. The Basel convention is
in response to the growing concern for regulating trans-
boundary transfer of hazardous waste and for promoting
environmentally sound management practices.
Rule 11 of the HWM&H Rules, 1989 has been amended
and now to categorically states that "Import of
hazardous waste from any country to India and export
of hazardous waste from India to any country for dumping
or disposal shall not be permitted".
Rules 12, 13, and 14 are the new addition in the amendment
which are included to streamline and systematize import
of waste substances for the purpose of recycle and reuse.
These rules also mention the responsibilities of the
importer of wastes as well as the responsibility of
Further, rule 15 has been added in the amendment to
address the requirement under the Basel convention regarding
illegal trans-boundary transport of hazardous waste.
6. The Basel
The Basel convention is the broadest and most significant
international treaty on trans-boundary movement of hazardous
wastes. Effective regulation of the management and disposal
of hazardous wastes require cooperation at the global
level. The Basel convention is the first and foremost
global legal instrument regulating the trans-boundary
movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
The Basel convention adopted by the diplomatic conference
in Basel in 1989 was developed under the auspices of
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and entered
in to force in May 1992. The following are the key objectives
of Basel convention.
- To reduce trans- boundary movement
of hazardous wastes and other wastes subject to
the Basel Convention to the minimum, consistent
with their environmentally sound management.
- To dispose of the hazardous wastes
and other wastes generated, as close as possible
to their source of generation.
- To minimize the generation of
hazardous wastes in terms of quantity and hazard
- To ensure strict control over
movements of hazardous waste across borders and
prevention of illegal traffic.
- To prohibit shipment of hazardous
wastes to countries lacking the legal, administrative
and technical capacity to manage and dispose of
them in an environmentally- sound manner
- To assist developing countries
in transition in environmentally- sound management
of the hazardous wastes they generate.
waste generating Industries
Sources of hazardous waste include those from industrial
processes, mining extraction; tailings from pesticide
based agricultural practices, etc. Industries that are
major producers of hazardous waste include petrochemicals,
pharmaceuticals, pesticides, paints and dyes, petroleum,
fertilizers, asbestos, caustic soda, inorganic chemicals
and general engineering. The main source of hazardous
waste generation and impact on the environment is the
chemical industry. Units manufacturing pesticides, drugs,
pharmaceuticals, textiles, dyes, fertilizers, paint,
chlor-alkali, etc. have a major potential for generating
hazardous waste such as heavy metals, cyanides, pesticides,
complex aromatic compounds (such as PCBs), and other
chemicals, which are toxic, flammable, reactive, corrosive
or have explosive properties.
of hazardous wastes
As per the Waste Management Rules, 1989, and the MoEF's
Guidelines (1991), hazardous waste generated by industries
has to be disposed of in secured landfills and the toxic
organic fraction of the waste needs to be incinerated.
Improper storage, handling, transportation, treatment
and disposal of hazardous waste results in adverse impacts
on ecosystems and the human environment. Heavy metals
and certain organic compounds are phytotoxic and at
relatively low levels can adversely affect soil productivity
for extended periods. For example, uncontrolled release
of chromium contaminated waste water and sludge resultes
in the contamination of aquifers. These aquifers can
no longer be used as sources of freshwater. Discharge
of acidic and alkaline waste affects the natural buffering
capacity of surface waters and soils and may result
in reduction of a number of species. It is said that
one gallon of used oil can contaminate one million gallons
of water rendering it unpotable. Marine species can
be affected even if exposed to oil levels as low as
of hazardous waste in India
India has become a dumping ground for hazardous waste
(Anjello and Ranawana 1996, Agarwal 1998). Cheap labour,
poor environmental standards, a sieve-like import regime
and a growing market for cheap raw materials are all
here. Ignoring its courts of law, India is helping rich
nations beat an international ban on the dumping of
toxic industrial waste in developing countries (Greenpeace
1997). Thousands of tones of toxic waste are being illegally
shipped to India for recycling or dumping, despite a
New Delhi court order banning imports of toxic materials.
Every Indian port is a floodgate standing open for hazardous
waste. Of course, the Indian government is keeping a
tight rein on hazardous waste imports by licensing only
five companies to accept metallic waste and letting
only three companies export such waste to India for
recycling. In fact, 151 different importing companies
have imported nearly 73 000 tones of toxic zinc and
lead residues from 49 countries. In 1995, Australia
exported more than 1 450 tones of hazardous waste in
the form of scrap lead batteries, zinc and copper ash
to India. Huge quantities of PVC waste is still exported
to Asia despite international agreements (Greenpeace
1998). A Greenpeace analysis of India's foreign trade
data found that at least 1127 tones of zinc ash had
been imported mainly from the United States since May
1996. Some 569 tones of lead battery waste were brought
in through the main seaport of Bombay between October
1996 and January 1997. About 40 000 tones of broken
lead batteries were imported during 1996. While lead
acid batteries are in the Basel Ban List, Some 150 companies
and trading houses are importing toxic waste into India
though only seven are licensed to do so.
(Source: Hazardous waste management in India by TERI-2003)
10. The Manifest
In rule 7, new sub rules (3 to 5) have been added to
address issue of labeling and chain of custody protocol
via a well articulated "manifest system".
The proposed modification appears to "complete
the loop so as to keep generator as well as regulator
completely informed about generation to disposal. When
an occupier is transporting out a hazardous waste, towards
storage, treatment and disposal (STD) facility, movement
documents are to be maintained. the transporting documents
originated and signed by the generator or occupier is
called as manifest.
The rules provide powers to closure, prohibition or
regulation of any industry, operation or process or
stoppage or regulation of supply of electricity or water
or any other services.
Whosoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of
the provisions of the Rules made or orders or directions
issued there under, shall in respect of each such failure
or contravention, be punishable with imprisonment for
a term which may extend to five years or with fine which
may extend to one lakh rupees or with both and in case
of continued failure or contravention, with additional
fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every
The waste containing hazardous substances should be
subject to same safety precautions as other hazardous
substances. Extremely hazardous wastes- particularly
dusty materials or wastes with a high vapour pressure
or strongly reactive wastes should be containerized
for storage and transport. A proper classification and
labeling system should be established for the transport
of waste. The storage of the wastes should be subject
to the same considerations as the storage of any other
hazardous substance. Interim storage of large quantities
should be avoided as far as possible. There should be
clear evidence that an established disposal or treatment
route is available before waste is consigned to interim
storage. Particular care over the conditions of storage
is essential, cool; dry, well ventilated conditions
should be used for containerized waste. Drums should
not be stored in the open air. All waste containing
must be properly, unambiguously and indelibly labeled.
Appropriate information for the emergency services should
be displayed and emergency equipment, such as protective
clothing, breathing apparatus and fire extinguishers
should be readily available.
Supreme Court judgment (14th October 2004)
All industries, involved in the hazardous chemicals
and generating hazardous wastes display on-line data
outside the factory gate, on quantity and nature of
hazardous chemicals being used in the plant, as well
as water and air emissions and solid wastes generated
within the factory premises. If such data is not made
available, the unit should be asked to show cause or
even be asked to close down".
(Source CII presentation on the web)