Previous Article | Next Article
E-waste, a growing concern for India
Source: ZEE News, Date: February , 2013
Even as India is trying to
devise environmental friendly ways to dispose garbage, the specter of Electronical-waste
(E-waste) destroying the balance of the nationâ€™s ecological health has already
started looming over. More worrying is the absence of a regulatory framework to
dispose or recycle e-waste further compounded by a lack of general awareness.
According to a report named
â€śE-waste in Indiaâ€ť by Rajya Sabha Secretariat, E-waste from old computers would
jump by 400 per cent on 2007 levels in China and by 500 per cent in India by
2020. In addition, E-waste from discarded mobile phones would be about seven
times higher than 2007 levels and, in India, 18 times higher by 2020. Such
predictions highlight the urgent need to address the problem of E-waste in
developing countries like India where the collection and management of E-waste
and the recycling process is yet to be properly regulated. The Rajya Sabha
Secretariat has culled this data from a report called â€śE-waste a growing
problem for China and Indiaâ€ť by Computing, a UK based business technology
Rapid technological advancement and ever increasing obsolescence rate of
consumer electronics and electrical items has undoubtedly created the
precarious situation. Our failure to devise unhazardous ways of waste disposal
was grimly highlighted during the Mayapuri radiation leak case in early 2010.
The incident where a person lost his life due to exposure to Cobalt-60 at
Mayapuri scrapyard in West Delhi should have ideally served as a wake-up call
for our authorities towards the unmonitored mounting quantity of hazardous
waste including E-waste. More importantly, it exposed systemic gaps on the
Revealing the darker side of technological advancements, Professor S C Rajora
from the University of Kota, Rajasthan says, â€śspectacular developments in
modern times have undoubtedly enhanced the quality of our lives. At the same
time, these have led to manifold problems including the problem of massive
amount of hazardous waste and other wastes generated from electric products.
These hazardous and other wastes pose a great threat to the human health and
Another survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
estimated that 1.47 lakh million tonnes per annum of E-waste was generated in
the country during 2005. CPCB also revealed that Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu,
Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya
Pradesh and Punjab are among the top ten states generating about 70 per cent of
the total E-waste.
Taking a huge step in this direction the Union Ministry of Environment and
Forests notified E-waste Management and Handling Rules that come into force on
May 1st, 2012. The rules were notified in advance and provided a lead time of
one year to all stakeholders to put systems in place for an effective
compliance to the Rules.
The E-waste Management and Handling Rules put the onus of e-waste management on
Manufacturers or the brands through the principle of Extended Producer
Responsibility (EPR). The E-waste Management and Handling Rules put the onus of
e-waste management on Manufacturers or the brands through the principle of
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
However, mere enactment of laws wonâ€™t help as the enforcement is weak.
According to a Delhi based NGO, Toxics Link, Consumer awareness, another major
responsibility of the producers is critical in improving compliance but in the
past one year there has been almost negligible effort in this direction. There
is no information on collection centers and collection points across many
cities in the country, a major setback in rolling out the E-waste rules from
May 1, 2012.
Expressing concern over the sloppy and unsafe E-waste disposal system in India,
Priti Banthia Mahesh, Senior Programme Coordinator, Toxics Link (Delhi) says,
â€śThe inefficient functioning of E-waste disposal system is running without
hindrance in India and it is unlikely to change much in coming days as there is
no monitoring or evaluation mechanism currently in place from the regulators
Previous Article | Next Article