5.ELECTRONIC WASTE MANAGEMENT
- Citing huge gaps in compliance of electronic waste-management rules, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recently ordered that scientific disposal of e-waste should beensured as per rules.
- The direction has been issued to centraland all state pollution control boards.
- E-Waste is short for Electronic-Waste and the term is used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded electronic appliances.It includes their components, consumables, parts and spares.
It is categorised into 21 types under two broad categories:
- Information technology and communication equipment.
- Consumer electrical and electronics.
- Laws to manage e-waste have been in place in India since 2011, mandating that only authorised dismantlers and recyclers collect e-waste.
- E-waste(Management) Rules, 2016was enacted in 2017.
- India’s first e-waste clinicfor segregating, processing and disposal of waste from household and commercial units has been be set-up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
E-waste Generation in India:
- According to the Central P ollution Control Board(CPCB), India generated more than 10 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2019-20,an increase from 7 lakhtonnes in 2017-18. Against this, the e-waste dismantling capacityhas not been increased from 82 lakh tonnessince 2017-18.
- In 2018, the Ministry of Environment had told the tribunal that 95% of e-wastein India is recycled by the informal sectorand scrap dealers unscientifically dispose of itby burning or dissolving it in acids.
- Further steps should be taken for scientific enforcement of E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 (EWMR)in the light of the reports of the CPCB.
- It noted gaps in collection targets, as the amount of e-waste collected in 2018-19 was 78,000 tonnes against a target of 1.54 lakh tonnes.
- There are clear governance deficitson the subject.
- The CPCB may consider steps for compliance of Rule 16 requiring reduction in the use of Hazardous substancesin the manufacture ofelectrical and electronic equipment and their components or consumables orparts or spares.
- It took note that a large number of accidents take place in residential areas on account of unscientific handling of e-waste. This needs specialattention for constant vigilance in such hotspots. This also requires review and updation of siting norms for e-waste by the CPCBwhich may be donewithin three months.
- All the state pollution control boards need to identify the hotspotsby constant vigil and to coordinate with the District Administration at local levels to prevent damage to the environment and public health and meaningful enforcement of rule of law.
E-Waste Management Rules, 2016
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016in supersession of the E-waste (Management &Handling) Rules, 2011.
- Over 21 products (Schedule-I) were included under the purview of the rule.
- It includedCompact 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 responsiblefor 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 environmentallysound manner.
- Deposit Refund Schemehas 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 introducedto ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations.
- A provision of penalty for violation of ruleshas also been introduced.
- Urban Local Bodies(Municipal Committee/Council/Corporation) have been assigned the duty to collect and channelize the orphan products to authorizeddismantlers or recyclers.
- Allocation of proper space to existing and upcoming industrial units for ewastedismantling and recycling.