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E-waste not in the bin

Source: Deccan Herald, Date: June , 2012

No action: Electronic manufacturers yet to set up waste collection centres.

Rules on electronic waste management were notified in May this year, but several electronics and electric equipment manufacturers in Delhi have not set up e-waste collection centres yet, say environmentalists.

The e-waste rules mandate Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), under which manufacturers must collect e-waste generated from their products and recycle them.
According to rules, collection centres are required to get authorisation from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) within three months from the date of commencement of the rules.
Similarly, recycling plant operators must get authorisation as well as register with SPCB for better disposal practices.

Disposal of e-waste is a critical issue in India because of rapid technological advancement and growing dependence on electronics and electrical goods. The country is saddled with huge toxic waste, estimated to be over 8 million tonnes, say environmentalists.

According to a study by Toxics Link, e-waste generation is 9,730 tonnes per year in Delhi alone. The study suggested that the total turnover of the e-waste chain, with an estimate of 12 processes a year, is Rs 220 crore.

“In Delhi, manufacturers have collection centres but they do not send the materials for recycling.

This is the biggest bottleneck as according to the Delhi Master Plan, manufactures can collect e-waste but not recycle it on the city’s premises,” said Priti Mahesh, senior e-waste programme coordinator with Toxics Link.

Priti said the big question is how effective are these rules going to be. Is the industry ready to roll out an effective e-waste management plan?

Experts say that in the absence of any target or accountability check on collection and recycling, the rules may not be able to change much on the ground.

At a recent workshop on e-waste management organised by the Central Department of Environment and Delhi Pollution Control Committee, chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that bulk consumers of electrical and electronics equipment will now have to ensure that e-waste is deposited with authorised collection centres, given to registered recycling plant operators or sent back to the producers through pick-up or take-back services.

They will also have to file annual returns in Form 3 to the SPCB before June 30 of every financial year.

While some experts say that EPR is not the best option, Greenpeace believes it is the only solution. “E-waste is not like domestic waste. It is hazardous. The main issue is that there is no effective monitoring system,” said Abhishek Pratap, senior climate campaigner, Greenpeace India.

“E-waste collection in India is largely done through scrap dealers. Also, Delhi is no more the hub of e-waste material as Moradabad is emerging as the new hub,” said Pratap.

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