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Dumping e-gadgets just like that may soon be an offence

Bangalore, May 1 2012, DHNS: 0:21 IST

Junk must be deposited with authorised recyclers

The State government is all set to issue the e-waste guidelines in the next two weeks, with the Electronic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, coming into effect from May 1.

Highly placed sources told Deccan Herald that even though the guidelines were supposed to be introduced soon after notification of the Act, it has been delayed as the government took time for consultation with stakeholders and NGOs.

As per the Central government notification on the e-waste Act, it will be illegal to dump an old TV, mobile phone or laptop into the garbage bin or sell any of these to the local scrap dealer. Such waste should be routed only to one of the 73 authorised recyclers in India.

Sources said e-waste guidelines will be for the public, consumers (including bulk consumers), producers as well as recycling units.

A senior official in the Department of Environment said Bangalore was more important when it came to implementation of e-waste guidelines, as IT and IT-enabled industries had a strong presence here.

Guidelines

Sources said Rajiv Gaba, Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests - who was in Bangalore recently - had an elaborate meeting at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), with representatives of e-waste producers, recycling units, major hardware manufacturers, bulk consumers, IT companies, banks, government departments and educational institutions taking part. A senior KSPCB official said issues like responsibilities, dos and don’ts of each stakeholder were discussed. These are likely to become part of the e-waste guidelines.

Another official said e-waste guidelines would fix the responsibility on individuals on how they must handle e-waste, on the lines of plastic disposal.

The onus is also on producers and bulk consumers for safe disposal of e-waste, he said. The official said when it came to recyclers, guidelines on collection centres, new gudelines of dismantling (which has been manual for a long time) are being framed.

He said the recyclers must have proper authorisation and registration for collection and handling of e-waste. He said they should also have proper technology for recycling, besides being resource efficient. They should also follow proper environmental, health and safety measures.

In India, with labour costs being cheaper, there is predominantly manual dismantling. It has been proved that manual way is better, as machines are not so perfect.

For bulk consumers, new guidelines state they can dispose waste only through authorised recyclers and cannot sell it haphazardly like at present. A senior official said consumers just cannot give or sell e-waste to scrap dealers or send it to collection centres casually.

As per an estimation in 2008, 19 kg of e-waste is the per capita generation of e-waste among the middle class. With computers already adding to the volume of e-waste, the increasing number of electrical and electronic home appliances may only compound the problem.

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