As around 4K institutions including IIT’s are amongst 225 companies that manufacture electronic goods — from smartphones to laptops, and have been served notice by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPC) for not complying with electronic-waste procurement norms, questions have been raised on how serious are we in tackling corruption when the apex court banned firecrackers in Delhi this time for the first time.
While such rules have been around since 2011 with States entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring compliance, the Union Environment Ministry last October — via a concept called Extended Producer Responsibility — included dealers, retailers and refurbishers of electronic goods as among those responsible for ensuring that electronic or e-waste goods are collected and “scientifically” recycled. These norms were spelt out last October and are in active effect since May, require companies to ensure that a portion of e-waste, or electronic goods manufactured by them that were past their use-by-date, was collected and “scientifically recycled.”
As per the new rules, the statutory Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was given the overall responsibility of ensuring that firms complied with the power to levy fines for non compliance. The new rules specified that producers would have to ensure collection of 30% of e-waste — the percentage on self-determined basis on their projected sales — by 2018 and 70% by 2023.
‘Could be Penalised’
Failure to do so would result in fines. The list of companies, listed on the CPCB website, includes some of India’s electronics majors. “Those who haven’t complied will be sent further notices in a month and if still not compliant, could be fined,” said an Environment Ministry official. (The Hindu)
With reports suggesting nearly 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste reportedly produced in India in 2014 and increasing annually at between four and five per cent, a variety of experts have warned of its dangers to the environment and health.
The craze for electronic goods in India is huge. The young generation is glued to gadgets and spend out of their means to get hold to their favourite devices. This produces a large mass of defunct laptops, cell phones and other electronic goods which are usually broken for secondary purposes for precious metals or hacked down manually or crudely burnt.
The e-residue is frequently thrown in rivers, drains thus polluting them very badly. Disposing in waste dumps over time can contribute to degraded land and water quality as well as neurological and skin diseases, genetic defects and cancer in the workers who deal with them.