Poor management of e-waste to attract financial penalty: Govt

Considering the “phenomenal” growth of e-waste in the country, the Centre on Wednesday notified the revised e-waste management rules 2016 under which improper management of such refuse leading to environment damage will invite financial penalty.

While CFL and other mercury lamps have been brought within the ambit of the e-waste management rules 2016, a “Deposit Refund Scheme” has been introduced under which the producer of any computer, mobile phone or other electronic product will have to persuade consumers to return the products after usage for a small sum.

The 2016 rules are in supersession of the e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
“The government has revised the e-waste management rules. E-waste is growing at a phenomenal rate. Today, every year more than 17 lakh tonnes of such waste is generated. It is growing at a five per cent rate every year and is set to grow further. Also, dismantling of e-waste is done in an unorganised way,” Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters here.
“People are after precious metals like gold and silver. They take it out of the product and burn it which is why toxic gases are generated. They then throw the waste in water or to leeches.
“The workers who are involved in this task suffer from neurological disorders, skin diseases and cancer. Therefore, we have decided to revamp the rules and adopt the best modern practices,” he said.
The Union Minister said 100 crore mobiles are used every year in the country, out of which 25 crore become e-wastes.
Javadekar said the norms have been made more stringent and the revamp reflects the government’s commitment to environmental governance.
He said for the first time, the producers will be brought under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and made responsible for collection of e-waste and its exchange.
“The bulk consumers must collect the items and hand them over to authorised recyclers. 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.
“There is a liability clause with financial penalties, where environmental degradation is happening and things are not being done scientifically,” Javadekar said.