National Authority – Role of Stakeholders in EPR

EPR or Extended Producer Responsibility has been widely introduced around the world and has proven to be an effective policy in tackling waste.  EPR is a powerful tool that helps regulate waste management responsibilities among the stakeholders in the system. Stakeholders in EPR & Waste Ecosystem include:

  • National Authority
  • Consumers
  • Producer Responsibility Organisation (PROs)
  • Producers, Brands, and Importers (PIBOs)
  • Recyclers & Aggregators
  • Informal Sector

The Role of Stakeholders in EPR is a series of blogs that will highlight the duties and benefits of each stakeholder in the ecosystem. The National Authority holds the reigns in controlling its implementation across the country.

The National Authority is an umbrella word for Policymakers, Government agencies such as CPCB*, SPCB*, ULBs*, and PCC* who oversee the implementation and monitoring of the EPR framework. In a country as vast as India, where there are many types of waste produced, it is important to shift the responsibility to the Producers.

Role of Stakeholders in EPR

  • Creation of Rules, Regulations and Guidelines

The onus of formulating, designing, and implementing the EPR rules solely lies on the Government. Rules are formulated with in-depth research, understanding of the ground realities, and taking inspiration from EPR policies implemented around the world.

Considering the peculiar waste ecosystem in India, a holistic approach is a need of the hour. The phased introduction of guidelines by the CPCB gives relevant stakeholders time to understand and improvise their processes to align with the rules.

  • Clear allocation of responsibilities to the stakeholders

With many stakeholders in the system, the National Authority will act as a warden of the rules. A clear description of the tasks and responsibilities should be of the highest priority in order to avoid confusion and chaos. For instance, with state-specific challenges and circumstances, the SPCB must be the decision-maker.

Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities will ensure smooth implementation and transition into a circular ecosystem. For example, local Municipality and Informal Waste collectors must take responsibility for waste collection and disposal.

National Authority/Government sphere of control for EPR implementation
National Authority/Government sphere of control for EPR implementation
  • Implementation of waste flow

The onus of enabling waste flow in the ecosystem lies with the authorities. Right from waste generation, disposal, channelling, and recycling, their role is critical and significant. For instance, Initiatives such as creating awareness on waste sorting at the waste generation stage must be implemented by the National Authority.

  • Development of Infrastructure

Establishing a robust infrastructure for waste management is a key responsibility of the National Authority. Providing waste collection centres, recycling facilities, enabling external players to collect and process the waste. Additionally, the ULBs and SPCB must ensure their jurisdiction is equipped with Collection centres and sorting facilities.

  • Database formulation and analysis

As stated earlier, in a country as vast as India, there must a robust data collection portal to analyse the effectiveness of the policy. The recent guidelines by CPCB proposed an online portal that will be used as a registry for stakeholders. Additionally, the portal will also act as a check-and-balance for PIBOs to hold them accountable for the amount of waste they collect and process.

  • Creation of a Monitoring mechanism

Rules formulation and implementation and monitoring are the two aspects. Effective implementation, adherence to rules and guidelines must be monitored regularly. Based on the EPR implementation challenges faced, the rules and guidelines are evaluated and amended. Consequently, this acts as a corrective measure based on on-field learning.

Apart from the above listed generalised duties, the National Authority has many other responsibilities that are specific to a stakeholder and to a state or system.

Benefits to stakeholders in EPR

Implementation of EPR has many benefits, which transpose into environmental and economic benefits for each stakeholder in the system

  • Streamlining of data through the National Registry, which enables digitization of the waste ecosystem
  • Efficient management of Waste and resources
  • Transparent accountability
  • Reduced costs and efforts on remediation
  • Strengthening other stakeholders
  • Easy enforcement of laws, legislation, and policies

To Conclude, this blog is an insight into the duties and benefits of various stakeholders in the EPR ecosystem. The idea is to spread awareness among the consumers on the role of each member in the waste management system. In fact, only together can we fight the growing waste in our landfills. EPR is a way to keep the 3.3 million tones of plastic waste generated each year, away from landfills. The tool is an effective way to establish a circular economy which is the first step towards a sustainable future.

Do share your views in the comments below.

*CPCB- Central Pollution Control Board
SPCB- State Pollution Control Board
ULB- Urban Local Bodies
PCC- Pollution Control Centres

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