The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to inform it about coercive steps taken against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for non-compliance of plastic waste management rules.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the report filed by the apex pollution monitoring body does not mention the coercive steps taken in accordance with the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the plastic waste management rules.
A petition against plastic polluters
Earlier, a plea was filed by a 16-year-old boy, Aditya Dubey who has approached the tribunal, through advocate Meenesh Dubey, to stop e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart from excessive plastic use in their packaging.
Earth is being choked by plastic. Millions of tons of non-biodegradable plastic waste is silently, but at a very fast pace choking our waterways, filling our landfills, poisoning the soil, and damaging our respiratory and nervous systems. The growth of e-commerce companies has further boosted the use of plastic. Amazon, Flipkart, and other e-commerce companies are engaged in very largescale businesses and make millions of deliveries every day in various parts of the country.
Another petition was filed by Aditya Dubey and environmentalist Aman Banka against the plastic bottling companies like – Bisleri, Railneer, Coca-cola, etc that got listed by NGT on 29th January 2020.
Complete documents not submitted by Amazon, Flipkart didn't respond: CPCB
While Amazon has not submitted complete documents regarding their responsibility under the plastic waste management rules and confirmation of quantity of plastic consumption, the Flipkart has not responded to the CPCB's email dated March 4, 2020, and no other correspondence has been received from the firm so far, CPCB told the NGT.
The CPCB informed the tribunal that Amazon Retail India submitted the application for registration under the plastic waste management rules, 2018 to it on December 5, 2019, having Extended Producer Responsibility of collection and channelization of 0.5 TPA plastic waste.
It further told the tribunal that another firm Flipkart Pvt Ltd has not responded to the CPCB's email dated March 4, 2020, and no other correspondence has been received from the firm so far.
Environmental challenges due to excessive use of plastics in packaging
Small things and sometimes unbreakable, come wrapped in sheets of plastic and bubble wrap though there is no necessity to use the same. In fact, even the invoice sent by these companies along with the package comes in a plastic pouch thus adding further to plastic waste in each delivered package.
The plea said that though the home-delivery service of e-commerce companies has been very useful for consumers, it has given rise to serious environmental challenges due to excessive use of plastics in packaging.
Once goods are delivered, the plastic waste is thrown away in the garbage and it ends up at landfill sites, leading to a burden on the earth and damaging the environment, it said.
The CPCB had earlier told the NGT that the e-commerce giants need to fulfil their extended producer responsibility under the plastic waste management rules, 2016 and need to establish a system for collecting back the plastic waste generated due to the packaging of their products.
It had informed the green panel that as per provisions 9(2) of the plastic waste management rules, 2016, "Primary responsibility for collection of used multi-layered plastic sachet or pouches or packaging is of producers, importers and brand owners who introduce the products in the market."
"Amazon Retail India Private Limited and Flipkart Private limited are involved in packaging and selling of other companies'' products and thus introducing plastic packaging in the market. They need to fulfil their extended producer responsibility under PWM Rules and should obtain registration as brand owner after submitting proper documents," the CPCB had said.