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NGT directs study to reduce menace of micro plastic in environment

Microplastics are fragments of any type of plastic less than five millimetres

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The National Green Tribunal has formed a committee and directed it to conduct a study to reduce the menace of microplastic in the environment.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said violation of environmental norms in the handling of plastics is resulting in serious adverse health effects on human beings.

"It appears to be necessary to ensure strict compliance of environmental norms and to undertake further study to consider whether the existing policies of enforcement of environmental norms need to be revisited in any manner in the interest of human health," the bench, also comprising Justices Sudhir Agarwal and Pushpa Sathyanarayana, said.

Microplastics are fragments of any type of plastic less than five millimetres and they enter natural ecosystems from a variety of sources, including cosmetics, clothing, and industrial processes.

The green panel said the committee would comprise officials of the Central Pollution Control Board, Indian Council of Medical Research, Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET), National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, and any other expert institutions as required.

"Such studies and recommendations/ suggestions may cover standards for a safe environment, remedial steps to reduce the menace of microplastic, and addressing other incidental issues. CPCB may incur expenditure on studies and other incidents out of Environmental Compensation funds.

"The report of the study with suggestions for remedial action may be filed before this Tribunal by e-mail by August 31, 2022...MoEF&CC may file its action taken report in the matter before the next date by e-mail," the bench said.

The tribunal's order came after taking cognisance of a media report that in absence of enforcement of environmental norms on the subject, small particles of plastics enter the blood cells of the human being through food, having adverse health impacts.