Increased Recycling of E-waste in India
- 05 Mar 2020
- 5 min read
Why in News
Recently, the government has informed that E-waste recycling has doubled in the country compared to 2017-18.
- The government has reported that the recycling rate of 10% in 2017-18 has risen to 20% in 2018-19.
- E-Waste is short for Electronic-Waste. It is the term used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded electronic appliances. It includes computers, mobiles, consumer electronics etc.
- It majorly includes electronic equipment, completely or in part discarded as waste by the consumer or bulk consumer as well as rejects from manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes.
Why should E-waste be managed properly?
- E-waste consists of toxic elements such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Chromium, Polybrominated biphenyls and Polybrominated diphenyl.
- Non-Disposal and burning of e-waste can have serious implications on human health and can cause air, soil pollution and groundwater contamination.
- Production of E-waste in India:
- According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, India generates about 2 million tonnes (MT) of E-waste annually.
- India ranks fifth among E-waste producing countries, after the US, China, Japan and Germany.
- But the government has stated that the E-waste produced in India is lower than estimates by international agencies.
- Management of E-waste:
- The government has implemented the E-waste (Management) Rules (2016) which enforces the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
- Under EPR principle the producers have been made responsible to collect a certain percentage of E-waste generated from their goods once they have reached their “end-of-life”.
- State Governments:
- They have been entrusted with the responsibility for maintaining industrial space for e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities.
- They are also expected to establish measures for protecting the health and safety of workers engaged in the dismantling and recycling facilities for e-waste.
- Recycling of E-waste:
- Most of India’s e-waste is recycled by the informal sector and under hazardous conditions.
- A report by the Union Environment Ministry in 2018 found that many of India’s e-waste recyclers didn't have the capacity to handle a large quantity of waste.
- India’s first e-waste clinic for segregating, processing and disposal of waste from household and commercial units will soon be set-up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 in supersession of the e-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011.
- The new E-waste rules included Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamps, as well as other such equipment.
- For the first time, the rules brought the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets. Producers have been made responsible for the collection of E-waste and for its exchange.
- Various producers can have a separate Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) and ensure collection of E-waste, as well as its disposal in an environmentally sound manner.
- Deposit Refund Scheme has been introduced as an additional economic instrument wherein the producer charges an additional amount as a deposit at the time of sale of the electrical and electronic equipment and returns it to the consumer along with interest when the end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment is returned.
- The role of State Governments has been also introduced to ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations.
- A provision of penalty for violation of rules has also been introduced.
- Urban Local Bodies (Municipal Committee/Council/Corporation) has been assigned the duty to collect and channelize the orphan products to authorized dismantler or recycler.