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Issue 36
, 2012
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New e-waste rules risk falling flat without specific guidelines: experts,

Source: Financial Express, Date: , 2012

New Delhi While they are a step in the right direction, the new e-waste regulations contain no specific guidelines on many crucial issues and risk falling flat, say experts.

“We fear that companies might set up token take-back systems which are not really accessible to consumers. In addition, there is no financial incentive. E-waste in India is considered to be of value. If there is no financial incentive, the waste will still make its way to the informal recycling sector,” said Priti Mahesh of Toxics Link.

Companies like Nokia had earlier initiated the take-back system, but few others followed suit.

Nokia had set up over 1,400 recycling points at its care centres and retail outlets and will seek licenses for the same in view of the new regulations, said Poonam Kaul, Director (Corporate Communications), Nokia India.

Doubts also remain about whether the State Pollution Control Boards have enough resources to enforce the regulations, said experts.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had till April 10 issued two licenses to collection centres. “We are receiving applications and more will come in once the rules come into effect,” said Dr Sandeep Mishra, Member Secretary of the DPCC.

DPCC had organised four workshops targeted at bulk consumers of electronics. “Bulk consumers can go to companies that specialise in e-waste, like the state-owned MSTC which conducts e-auctions of e-waste,” he said.

Officials at the Environment Ministry said the government has taken up the task of spreading awareness. “Different stakeholders like government departments, schools, hospitals and other bulk consumers have been targeted. E-waste bins have been set up at offices,” a ministry official said.

Meanwhile, at recycling hubs in Delhi, businessmen seem to be unaware of the new regulations. At Old Seelampur’s Gali Number 4, Mohammad Ali, who has been in the business of dismantling e-waste for nearly 20 years, said he had not heard of licenses.

“No one has told me about it. In Seelampur, we dismantle the waste and pack it off to recycling centres where they burn it to extract metal or convert it into other products,” he said.

According to Ali and other businessmen in the area, every day, e-waste to the tune of 500 kg to 1 tonne pass through the hands of more than 300 dismantling units functioning in Seelampur. No “burning work” occurs in the hub, they said.