E-waste goes here: Separate bins at schools

Schools in Delhi will now have a separate bin to dispose off electronic waste. The decision was taken by the Delhi government after a recent meeting between Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and eco-clubs of various schools.

Acknowledging that there is very less awareness about segregating electronic waste from other types of waste like biodegradable and non-biodegradable, the government has taken this step to have separate bins in all government and private schools by March 31.

“Electronic goods are used by all of us and there cannot be any mechanism by which the department does monitoring in all households. People do not segregate at home and even if they do, the MCDs collect all waste as one. So we decided to spread this awareness through schools so that students inculcate this habit and inform their parents too,” said a senior official.

The schools have been told to shell out the money from an environment fund of Rs 30,000 given to each school by the government. The DPCC has around 27 authorised collection centres in the city which have been authorised to collect, segregate and store e-waste and send it further for recycling.

Collection centreThe schools have been asked to coordinate with their nearest collection centre which will be responsible for disposal of the waste. 

“Mixing e-waste like batteries or cells with others is like an immediate danger as heavy metals can cause harm to soil or water,” the official said. 

Though this is a step in the right direction, problems like lack of facilities to dispose e-waste and illegal disposal and accountability of producers continue to exist. 

It has been four years since the e-waste rules were notified but according to experts, only a few companies have complied with them. One of the main problems is that manufacturers and producers have failed to implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which requires them to take back discarded goods.

List of suggestions “There are innumerable producers which are hardly registered and they don’t have proper e-waste disposal system or technology. They get away in the absence of any national registry where we have list of all producers and what they have done,” said Priti Banthia Mahesh of NGO Toxics Link. 

The NGO had done a study in 2014 in this connection and found that the ‘take back system’ of most brands does not function effectively. It will soon submit a list of suggestions to the NGT for making the framework more effective. 

The Delhi government official said, “The department had issued notices to companies for following the rules and have effective mechanism. Some reputed companies like Apple, Samsung, etc responded positively but there are so many smaller players which go unmonitored.”

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