For old gadgets, kabaris no more a recycle bin
Source: Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/For-old-gadgets-kabari, Date: January , 2013
NEW DELHI: It is
an old computer lying in the house and you have finally decided to sell it to
the neighbourhood kabari. Don't do it. Not only is that illegal but also a huge environmental
hazard. Chances are
that the computer will be dismantled in a small shack somewhere in east Delhi
and then its various components will be burnt in a suffocating, dingy room to
extract metals, the process releasing poisonous fumes in the air.
The new e-waste rules were notified on May 1,
2012 under which producers of electronics are supposed to take back their goods
when they have to be discarded. Delhi
Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has authorized 12
agencies for collection of e-waste from across Delhi and there are four
authorized recyclers around the capital. However, collecting centres say their
work is yet to start.
"It is lucrative for people to sell their
e-waste to ragpickers directly since they make more money out of the deal. We
are in some sense the middlemen but our role is necessary since recycling can't take place in the city legally and the four recyclers in north
India are located outside Delhi," said the owner of one company. Another
said even among big business houses, only those which had a mandatory
environment audit were serious about sending their e-waste to them. "There
is massive scope for e-waste collection but no single sector is fully tapped.
Individual households have not been touched," he said.
DPCC has been holding workshops with stakeholders
and has also placed collection bins in government offices. Officials accept
that despite their sensitization programme, more needs to be done to encourage
people to look beyond the economics of selling to a waste picker. "We will
carry out a review of how collectors are faring. Based on figures, we will get
an idea if the programme is successful. If not, we will have to see what other
steps can be taken," said an official of the environment department.
Priti Banthia Mahesh, senior programme
co-ordinator at NGO Toxics Link, says consumerism has
increased to such levels that despite making e-waste recycling an illegal
activity, the informal sector is still thriving. "In last six months we
have seen more and more shops come up in areas where recycling is taking place.
Dismantling units are present in Old and New Seelampur, Mustafabad and Shastri
Park. Recycling is taking place in areas like Mandoli and Loni. This is largely
because there is so much ewaste in the city, much of it untapped," she
Bharati Chaturvedi, director of NGO Chintan,
which is an authorized collection agency for e-waste in Delhi, also stressed
upon the need to educate individual households on the need to not sell to
ragpickers but to authorized agencies.