Putting the onus of re-cycling of electronic wastes (e-waste) on the
producers, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has for the
first time notified e-waste management rules.
The e-waste (management and handling) Rules, 2011 would recognise the
producers’ liability for recycling and reducing e-waste in the country.
The rules will come into effect from May 1, 2012.
Personal Computer manufacturers, mobile handset makers and white goods
makers will be required to come up with e-waste collection centres or
introduce ‘take back’ systems .
“These rules will apply to every producer, consumer and bulk consumer
involved in manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of electronic
equipment or components,” an environment ministry official said.
The ministry is giving the producers of electrical and electronic
equipment a breathing period of one year to set up their collection
centres.The rules will come under the Environment Protection Act (EPA).
India, at present, generates about 400,000 tonnes of e-wastes
annually of which only 19,000 tonnes are getting recycled according to
the recent data by hardware manufacturers association, Mait.
According to Mait, around 40 per cent of the unused and obsolete
electronic products sit idle at homes, godowns and warehouses as one
does not know what to do with it or there is no systematic mechanism to
E-wastes are considered dangerous, as certain electronic components
contain substances such as lead, cadmium, lead oxide (in cathode ray
tubes), toxic gases, toxic metals, biologically active materials, acids,
plastics and plastic additives. These substances are considered
hazardous depending on their condition and density.
Under the new rules, producers will have to make consumers aware
about the hazardous components present in the product. Also,
instructions for consumers for handling the equipment after its use
along with the do’s and don’t’s. They will also have to give information
booklets to prevent e-waste from being dropped in garbage bins.
However, according to the rules, bulk consumers such as enterprises
and government will be responsible for recycling of the e-wastes
generated by them. The bulk users have to ensure that the e-waste
generated by them is channelized to authorised collection centres or is
taken back by the producers.
They also have to maintain records of e-wastes generated by them and
make such records available with State Pollution Control Boards or the
Pollution Control Committees.
The State Pollution Control Board will be required to prepare and
submit to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) an annual report
(based on the data received by consumers) with regard to implementation
of these rules, by September 30 of every year.
On receiving which, the CPCB will have to prepare a consolidated
annual review on management of e-waste and forward it to the government
along with its recommendations by December 30 of every year.