E-waste disposal rules within a month: Govt

E-waste disposal rules within a month: Govt

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh told the Rajya Sabha that he was personally against import of second hand computers in the name of charity as this "e-waste" posed danger to environment and human health.

He, however, did not say if a ban on import of used electronic equipments like computers would form part of the e-waste management guidelines.

Computers, mobile phones and other electronic gadgets become e-waste at the end of their life cycle, he said. "For the first, Government is coming out with rules for managing e-waste... we will make them public by May 15," Ramesh said, adding the rules would prescribe regulations for management of e-waste.

Currently, he said, 85-90 per cent of recycling of electronic equipment like mobile phone is done in informal or unorganised sector in cities like Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh and Seelampur in the national capital. "These are illegal facilities" as neither the Central Government nor Central Pollution Control Board has any control on them, he said. As units such as in Dharavi slums in Mumbai, generate huge employment, "no government has dared to take action against them."

"No action has been taken by Central or state governments on mushrooming of recycling units in informal sector," he said. The Government wants to make unorganised sector become much organised in following pollution norms, he said adding Centre and state governments will provide 50 per cent of the funds for setting up of facilities for treatment, storage and disposal of e-wastes.

The remaining 50 per cent is to come from private entrepreneurs. While gold, silver, plastic, glass and steel can be recycled from electronic goods, hazardous items like lead, cadmium and mercury should not be recycled.  On the issue of Cobalt-60 found in a scrap market here, he said it was a radioactive material not covered under the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trans-boundary Movement) Rules framed by MoEF. "Radioactive waste is covered by Atomic Energy Act," he said.

Ramesh said based on a survey carried by CPCB, it was estimated that 1.47 lakh tons of e-waste was generated in the country in 2005, which is expected to increase to about 8 lakh tons by 2012. Besides, some 50,000 tons of e-waste was being illegally imported or dumped in the country, he said.

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