In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, the Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers informed about the various preventive steps taken by the Government of India to check marine pollution. The Minister informed that India is a signatory to MARPOL (International Convention on Prevention of Marine Pollution). In addition, Prevention of Marine Pollution is also dealt with by Merchant Shipping Rules, 2009 framed under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.
The Minister informed that periodic surveys of Indian flag vessels are carried out in order to ensure compliance to the above rules. Additionally, Indian vessels are also inspected for compliance with these and other Rules as part of the scheduled Flag States Inspections and un-scheduled (Surprise)Inspections. Foreign vessels are likewise inspected under Port State Inspection regime and a heavy penalty is levied in case of non-compliance.
Shri Mandaviya further informed that a steering committee with stakeholders from all the concerned Ministers and Departments has been constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to tackle the issues of marine plastic littering vide order No. 17/7/2019-HSMD dated 14th May 2019. The Committee will coordinate the activities of all the Ministries/Departments, examine proposals and provide guidance to Ministries, State and UT Governments with regard to research, policy planning, deployment of technology, public outreach and education and other facets of the problem of marine plastic littering.