Sanjaya K. Mishra
14th January 2020, Gurugram: E-waste or electronic waste is formed when an electronic product is discarded after the end of its useful life. Outdated, impaired or irreparable smartphones, mobile phones, LED lights, discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device, electronics, television sets, refrigerators, other electrical appliances, switches, and wires are some examples of e-waste. This includes used electronics that are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal as well as reusable and secondary scraps such as copper, steel, plastic, etc. The rapid expansion of technology means that a very large amount of e-waste is created every minute.
It was emphasized that all these wastes must be segregated and put in separate bins from other household and office wastes, as disposal mechanism of e-wastes different from other household wastes.
The subject was deliberated in the recently concluded two-day regional conference on the clean environment held in Gurugram. E-waste recycling is doable. But the responsible recycling of e-waste is a worldwide problem. It was stated that only 20% of the e-waste is being recycled worldwide, while in India the figure is 24%. In view of this situation, these rules have been made by the Government of India that the creator of the West has the responsibility to deal with it. Currently, it has been that consumers either put the e-waste in their dustbin or sell it to flea so that untrained people extract precious items from this waste which is harmful to both their health and the environment.
In India, E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 were enacted on 12th May 2011 and became effective from 1st May 2012. These Rules were brought into force to enable recovery and/or reuse of useful material from e-waste, thereby reducing the hazardous wastes destined for disposal, to ensure the environmentally sound management of all types of e-waste and to address the safe and environmentally friendly handling, transporting, storing, and recycling of e-waste. For the first time, the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was introduced which made manufacturers liable for the safe disposal of electronic goods. According to a government spokesperson, major companies like Apple, Samsung are following the requirements, however, other companies also need to meet compliance.
Thereafter, the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 were enacted on 23rd March 2016 that came into effect from 1st October 2016. A manufacturer, dealer, refurbisher and Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) were also brought under the ambit of these Rules. PRO is a professional organization authorized or financed collectively or individually by producers, which can take responsibility for the collection and channelization of e-waste generated from their products to ensure environmentally sound management. An option was given for setting up of a PRO as an additional channel for implementation of EPR by Producers. Further, the collection mechanism-based approach was adopted for the collection of e-waste by Producers under EPR. Furthermore, the applicability of the Rules was expanded to cover components, consumables, parts, and spares of EEE in addition to the equipment covered under the Rules.
Further, the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 was amended; vide notification GSR 261 (E) dated 22nd March 2018 to facilitate and effectively implement the environmentally sound management of e-waste in India. These amendments have been made with the objective of channelizing the e-waste generated in the country towards authorized dismantlers and recyclers in order to further formalize the e-waste recycling sector. The amended Rules revise the collection targets under the provision of EPR with effect from 1st October 2017. By way of revised targets and monitoring under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), effective and improved management of e-waste would be ensured. As per the revised targets of e-waste collection, 10% of the quantity of waste generated shall be collected during 2017-18. Further, there shall be a 10% increase every year until the year 2023. After 2023, the E-Waste collection target has been fixed at 70% of the quantity of waste generation.
Dr. Anand Kumar, Senior Director from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) enlightened that e-waste contains many hazardous metals like Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic, and also harmful materials like asbestos, and lethal chemicals. In addition, many precious metals like Gold, Silver, Copper, Cobalt, Aluminium, Nickel, etc. are also present in e-waste. The extraction of all these valuable metals through unscientific methods causes negative impacts on the environment and health hazards. Dr. Kumar informed that Haryana has made provisions for scientific disposal of e-waste and hazardous wastes. And industries, as well as other waste disposal companies should take advantage of such facilities. It was also told that there are 28 e-waste recyclers in Haryana. Dr. Anand Kumar apprised that CPCB is working on a web portal for the registration of bulk consumers of e-waste. There are 154 bulk consumers registered with CPCB, till date, he added.
Anil Ranveer, Additional Director, CPCB, in his presentation on said that regulations were implemented for the management, handling, and disposal of hazardous wastes in 1989. The rules were further amended in 2016. He underlined that 54 Standard Operating Procedures have been prepared to handle 40 different types of hazardous wastes. He also spoke about the available guidelines to reduce, reuse and recycle hazardous wastes. He also informed that CPCB is working on a National Hazardous Waste Monitoring System, which is expected to be ready by another 6 months. This system will help the officials of CPCB and State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees to check hazardous waste data online and industries/companies need not submit forms.
Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure Ltd. (Haryana) is running a treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) in Pali Crusher zone on Gurugram – Faridabad road since the year 2009. It sprawls over an area of about 31 acres of land. The Chief Operating Officer of GEPIL, Priyesh Bhati informed in the conference that fuel is being made from the recycling of hazardous wastes. The incinerators earlier installed have been closed. He also said that the soluble hazardous waste is converted to solid material before disposal. In Haryana, 4839 industries have been generating hazardous wastes, out of which 2499 have been registered with GEPIL, he added. It was also stated that according to an estimation, 87121 tons of hazardous waste is being generated out of which only 21827 tons are disposed of scientifically. Industries and companies were reminded that the hazardous wastes need to be disposed of within 90 days from the date of generation.
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