In this blog post, Pramit Bhattacharya, Student, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University writes about the various laws which are existing in India to regulate management of waste in India.

With the increasing industrial growth and development, one of the consequences we often seem to ignore is the generation of waste. If the disposal of such wastes is not regulated and managed properly, it can lead to serious environmental issues. Also, keeping in line with the principle that development and sustainability should go hand-in-hand, it is necessary that a robust system of waste management is set up. In our country, waste management is governed by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) who work together with State Pollution Control Board set up in various States. Certain laws are also present in the legal setup which helps in regulation of waste in India. The National Environment Policy, 2006 laid emphasis not only on disposal of waste but also recycling and treating waste.[1] Let us now look at some of the laws, which are there for the purpose of waste regulation.


Download Now
  • The Environmental Protection Act

This Act was enacted in 1986, and it aims to establish a sufficient protection system. This Act confers powers to the Central Government to regulate all forms of waste. It is one of the primary legislatures to protect the environment and regulation of waste. Some of the important provisions of this Act is given as under-

  1. Section 7 of this Act places a principal prohibition on harming the environment by stating that no person carrying any activity should emit or discharge environmental pollutants in excess of the prescribed standards.
  2. Section 9 of the Act states that if any event takes place which harms the environment through any foreseen or unforeseen event, the person responsible for the harm is duty bound to prevent or alleviate the pollutant, discharged as a result of such event. The person is also obliged to inform the proper authorities about the event which may harm the environment.

*Polluter Pays Principle– Section 9 (3) of the Act embodies the “Polluter Pays Principle” which states that any expense which has been incurred to restore the environment to its natural state shall be paid by the person who is responsible for such degradation. This concept of a continuing punishment is very important.


  1. The Act also contains provisions which remove the corporate veil. In case any environmental offense was committed by a company, with the connivance or consent of any director, manager, secretary or any other officer of the company, they’ll be help personally liable for committing offenses in the name of the company.
  2. Environmental Protection Rules-Commonly known as the Environmental Protection Rules, 1986, these rules were formulated by the government under the power conferred to them by the Environmental Protection Act. Through these powers, the government has the authority to give specific directions, without changing the principle Act.
  • The Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008

Management of hazardous waste is a very complex issue. Certain rules and regulations are required, which together form the legal regime. The Rules places an obligation on the occupier of hazardous to safe and sound handling of environmental waste. The occupier is that person under whose charge there is a plant or unit or factory which produces hazardous waste as a result of their operation. The occupier must sell or send the hazardous waste to a re-processor or recycler, who is authorized by the government to dispose of the waste in a safe manner. Any person who is engaged in storage, package, collection, destruction, conversion, processing, etc., also has to take authorization for the State Pollution Board.

The recyclers, occupiers, re-users, re-processors can store the waste for up to 90 days.[2]

Sale or transfer of hazardous waste can be done only after obtaining a valid registration form Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Use of the waste as a source of energy also requires registration from the CPCB.

The trans-boundary shipment of hazardous waste is regulated by the Basel Convention, to whom India is a signatory. Import of hazardous waste for disposal in India is prohibited by law, although import for the purpose of reuse, recovery as an energy source and recycling is allowed subject to certain restrictions. India allows for the export of hazardous waste but only with the prior informed consent of the importing country.

  • The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011

The PWM Rules are set of regulatory framework set up to control the use, manufacture, and recycling of plastic waste. Plastic waste includes any plastic product which has been discarded after it use of end of the products life.[3] The Rule has uniform applicability towards all distributors, users, retailers and manufacturers of plastic products. Rule 9 makes it compulsory for every manufacturer of plastic products and recycler to obtain registration from State Pollution Control Board. This registration has to be renewed every three years. Rule 10 states that no retailer can provide plastic bags free of cost. This is done to ensure that people use plastic bags judicially. The PWM rules also specify details of plastic products such as the classification of the types of plastic like compostable, recyclable or virgin plastic, thickness, and color.

Recycling of plastic products is to be done in a fixed procedure laid down by Bureau of Indian Standard Specification.

  • Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998

The aim of these Rules is to ensure that bio-medical wastes are safely disposed of. Bio-medical waste can be defined as any waste or byproduct generated during treatment, immunization and treatment of human beings or animals or in research activities.[4] Schedule I of the Rules, differentiates biological wastes into different categories like microbiological and biotechnological, human anatomical, animal anatomical, discarded medicines, chemical related waste, etc.

The BMW Rules apply to various institutions like nursing homes, animal houses, veterinary homes, blood banks, dispensaries, pathological laboratories, etc.[5] the BMW Rules prohibit mixing of biological wastes with any other type of wastes. The general rule provided is that bio-medical wastes can’t be kept stored beyond the period of 48 hours without being treated. Rule 8 (1) requires every occupier or any institution which is dealing with biological waste to take an authorization form the State Pollution Control Board. Further, according to Rule 5 (2), all institutions covered under the rules are to mandatorily set up treatment facilities like microwave system, autoclave, etc.

  • The E- Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011

The prime aim of the EWM is to put in place a system which manages e-waste in an environment-friendly way by regulating the issue of recycling and disposal of e-waste.[6] E-waste management is a problematic issue in India. With the growing economy and the technological advancement, India is becoming a hub for the IT Sector. This creates a lot of e-waste, disposal of which is necessary. A lot of e-waste also gets illegally imported into India, which worsens the problem. The E-waste Rules apply manufacturer and consumer. It is important to note that there are bulk consumers of electronic products also. There are many big corporate houses, who have fully automated their system and use a lot of electronic devices to meet their purposes. Factories are also considered as bulk customers.[7]

E-waste defined under the Rule 3 (k) means any electronic or electrical equipment which has been rejected after use or have been discarded. The byproducts which are discarded during the manufacturing process also falls under this category. The producer of electronic and electrical goods must obtain permission from State Pollution Control Board under rule 4. E-waste Rules also delineate the responsibilities of collection centers, consumers, bulk consumers, dismantlers, and recyclers.

  • The Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001

The Batteries Rules were notified to set up a mechanism in place which dealt with the disposal of lead acid batteries. The Rules apply to every manufacturer, recycler, dealer, importer, assembler, bulk consumer (like organizations and department purchasing more than 100 batteries) and consumers.[8] Rule 10 makes it compulsory for every consumer to deposit the used batteries back with the dealer, manufacturer, recycler or labeled collection centers. Bulk consumers are also required to file half-yearly returns with the State Pollution Control Board, about the usage. Under Rule 6, if a recycler wants to import used batteries in India, for the purpose of recycling, he must first obtain Custom clearance. Additionally, import of batteries will be allowed only upon producing valid registration with Reserve Bank of India and MoEF and providing an undertaking in prescribed format along with a copy of the latest half-yearly return.


Concluding Remarks

With the increasing industrial activities, the need for maintaining a balance between economic growth and environment protection grows. There is an increased focus towards the concept of sustainable development, wherein, both the objectives can be fulfilled simultaneously without hampering the other. Compliance with environmental norms also builds a better brand image of the organization. Apart from that, the rules and laws regarding the management of waste and protection of the environment have become more stringent. No laxity is accepted in the obligation of functioning in an environment-friendly manner. If organizations do not follow the provided norms, their right to carry out business operations can also be revoked by the State. To avoid such sanctions, it is important that organizations approach the issue of environment protection and waste management in an efficient way, and help the society as a whole to develop in a manner, which is sustainable in the longer run.


LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content 


[2] The State Pollution Board may extend the duration allowed for the storage.

[3] Rule 3(m) of the PWM Rules

[4] Biological is defined under Rule 2(6) to mean any preparation made from organisms, micro-organism, product of metabolism and biochemical reactions intended for use in the diagnosis, immunization or the treatment of human beings or animals or in related research work,  Rule 2(5) of BMW Rules


[5] Rule 2(8) of BMW Rules

[6] Environmentally sound e-waste management is taking of all steps required to ensure that e-waste are managed in a manner which shall protect health and environment against any adverse effects which may result from hazardous substance contained in such e-wastes

[7] Rule 2 of the E-waste Rules

[8] Rule 2 of the Batteries Rules


  1. […] waste management movement started when environmental crusader Almitra Patel filed a PIL before the Supreme Court in 1996. Through Article 32’s provision addressing the violation of […]

  2. Visit this link to know more about Realizing the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Book 1 .. (4 books were released )

    What is the Handbook for Realising the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation?

    This Handbook has been developed to:

    1 clarify the meaning of the human rights to water and sanitation;

    2. explain the obligations that arise from these rights;

    3 provide guidance on implementing the human rights to water and sanitation;

    4 share some examples of good practice and show how these rights are being implemented;

    5 explore how States can be held to account for delivering on their obligations;

    6 provide its users with checklists, so they can assess how far they are complying with the human rights to water and sanitation. The target audiences for this Handbook are governments at all levels, donors and national regulatory bodies. It provides information that will also be useful to other local, regional and international stakeholders, including civil society, service providers and human rights organizations.


    This book is built around the concept of integrated and sustainable (solid) waste management, known as ISWM. We have divided an ISWM system for convenience into two ‘triangles’, the physical elements and the governance features. The first triangle comprises the three key physical elements that all need to be addressed for an ISWM system to work well and to work sustainably over the long term:

    1 Public Health: maintaining healthy conditions in cities, particularly through a good waste collection service;

    2 Environment: protection of the environment throughout the waste chain, especially during treatment and disposal; and

    3 Resource Management: ‘closing the loop’ by returning both materials and nutrients to beneficial use, through preventing waste and striving for high rates of organics recovery, reuse and recycling.

    Triangle 2 focuses on ISWM ‘software’: the governance strategies to deliver a well functioning system. Until the 1990s, this would probably have been framed primarily around technology; but there is consensus today on the need for a much broader approach. Three interrelated requirements for delivering ISWM are distinguished here under the framework of ‘good waste governance’. There is a need for the system to:

    1 be inclusive, providing transparent spaces for stakeholders to contribute as users, providers and enablers;

    2 be financially sustainable, which means cost-effective and affordable; and 3 rest on a base of sound institutions and pro-active policies. …

    Related link …

    Realizing the Human Right relating to Water and Sanitation .. Introduction

    Young Law Interns and Lawyers are suggested to visit the above webpage.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here