I Can Be a Change Maker

Inayat
Inaayat Passi
Student, Grade 10, Vasant Valley School, Resident of Sunder Nagar, New Delhi
I was on my way to Delhi from Ghaziabad and I crossed a huge landfill, almost the height of the Qutub Minar. It was so disturbing to pass by and see children of my age handling and separating wastes with their bare hands. Rather than going to school for an education that can help them grow, and thereby the nation; they are cleaning up the mess that has largely been created by us. And, some of these, we have inherited, called legacy waste. Do we want to be known for our historical culture of the Qutub Minar or for the height of the landfills? Aside from deeply impacting young children, these landfills also have a major impact on our health. Firstly, they emit greenhouse gases consisting mostly of methane and carbon dioxide – leading to global warming, and the widespread air quality issues that we all are suffering from. Secondly, these landfills have toxic wastes, whose chemicals can seep into the ground and mix with our water supply, contaminate soil and groundwater. Stealing childhoods, harming our air quality, causing water pollution, and soil pollution – isn’t enough a list of dangers to doing away with the landfills?
I have been greatly inspired by Greta Thunberg. She is an ordinary student-turned activist who has urged global efforts to deal with the climate crisis. As a 16-year-old girl, she has the attention of world leaders; her efforts make me believe that it is the strength of the cause and sincerity behind it that can lead to making a difference. The need of the hour is for each person to take their future into their hands. We really need to think about future generations, otherwise, our children will blame us and only us.
Along with some residents of my residential community, Sunder Nagar, I have taken the initiative to come forward and form a group called Mission RGB (Red, Green, and Blue). Our waste segregation programme launched on 28thSeptember 2019. It has been sponsored by the ITC Wow Esree Foundation. With the enormous help from Madhusudan, Sushma, Babita, and Vishaka the process has taken its course in the right direction. It has taken a significant amount of hard work and brainstorming for all of us to come together. The aim of our programme is to make sure that every household in the colony segregates its waste to ensure environment-friendly disposal. We campaigned door to door to educate residents on the segregation of different wastes and the impact it can have on the environment, if not segregated.
My mother took the initiative first to join mission RGB. At first, I was told to do it but now I feel that each and every one of us needs to realize that this is important. If we don’t start now, there will be no life left on Earth. Parents should be teaching their children. I cannot thank my mom enough for opening my eyes. We, the kids will be the future leaders and it is up to us to make sure we and the future generations live a good life. So many children from my colony are willing to go to extents to help with waste segregation.
 
Aside from segregation, our programme has also convinced Sunder Nagar residents to stop lining their garbage bins with plastic bin liners. 70% of this has already been achieved. Through this, we have prevented a significant amount of plastic from reaching the landfills. If this is what a small community like Sunder Nagar has achieved in just a few months, imagine what could happen if all communities adopted this!
It is important to know that plastic harms the environment as it is non-biodegradable. Therefore plastic never goes away, taking years to degrade. We need to respect the planet and have gratitude for all the things that God has provided us with. As a necessary lifestyle change, we must also purchase only environment-friendly items. Recycling of cans, paper, and other items can also greatly help our cause.
The impact of our programme could eliminate 1600 tonnes of waste from going into landfills. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) could save nearly ₹32 lakh, every year, just from garbage transportation. There could be many other direct and indirect savings, for example, staff health expenses. We avoid the same by making our own compost pits and doing community composting. We have achieved 70% of this and wish to complete our mission soon. For this, the combined effort of the whole Sunder Nagar community is highly appreciable. All the mothers and children of Sunder Nagar have worked really hard to ensure that the solid waste in the society is segregated and biodegradable waste is taken for composting.
To overcome health hazards, each one of us has to render a helping hand and do our bit irrespective of gender, age, status, and position. Shame is not in clearing your own filth but in letting others do it for you. We have already reached a point where the criticality and seriousness of the damage to our environment are unavoidable. We should be obliged to leave our children as much we received from our forefathers – if not more. This is the need of the hour. There is no point in talking about education and jobs unless we have a clean environment for us to thrive in. Recently, I was reading Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), who illustrated that “Clean environment is a fundamental right of citizens. ‘Right to Life’, as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution must be ensured by the States. Having said State, I mean all the people and stakeholders of a State and not just the government functionaries alone.”
I want to make a difference and if we work together, we can make Delhi a cleaner city to live in. Would you like to join me?

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Scientific Management of E-wastes & Hazardous Wastes indispensable

CPCB is working on a web portal for the registration of bulk consumers of e-waste

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.

20200111 Gurgaon Regional Conference.jpgIt 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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