E-Waste Management and Policy in India

The emergence of the IT and communication sectors has increased the use of electronic equipment exponentially. Consumers are being forced to abandon old electronic products more quickly as technology advances, adding e-waste to the solid waste stream.

E-Waste Management and Policy in India

Electronic waste, commonly known as e-waste, is produced when electronic and electrical equipment no longer serves its original purpose or has reached the end of its useful life. Computers, servers, mainframes, monitors, CDs, printers, scanners, copiers, calculators, fax machines, battery cells, cellular phones, transceivers, TVs, iPods, medical equipment, washing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners are all examples of e-waste (when unfit for use). These electronic equipment are quickly replaced with newer ones due to rapid technological developments and the manufacturing of newer electronic equipment. As a result, the amount of e-waste produced has increased exponentially. People are likely to upgrade to newer models, and product life has also decreased.

Also Read: Effective management of electronic waste

Metals, plastics, cathode ray tubes (CRTs), printed circuit boards, cables, and other materials are commonly found in e-waste. If e-waste is scientifically processed, valuable metals such as copper, silver, gold, and platinum could be recovered. If e-waste is dismantled and processed in a crude manner using rudimentary techniques, toxic substances such as liquid crystal, lithium, mercury, nickel, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), selenium, arsenic, barium, brominated flame retardants, cadmium, chrome, cobalt, copper, and lead are present.

E-waste is extremely hazardous to humans, animals, and the environment. Even in trace amounts, heavy metals and highly toxic substances such as mercury, lead, beryllium, and cadmium pose a danger to the environment.

According to a report released at the World Economic Forum 2018, India ranks 177 out of 180 countries and is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018. This was linked to poor performance in environmental health policy and deaths as a result of air pollution. In addition, India ranks fifth in the world among top e-waste producing countries, trailing the United States, China, Japan, and Germany, and recycles less than 2% of total e-waste produced annually.

Since 2018, India has generated over two million tonnes of e-waste per year, while also importing massive amounts of e-waste from other countries around the world. The informal sector dominates e-waste collection, transportation, processing, and recycling. The industry is well-connected but uncontrolled. Often, all of the materials and value that could be recovered are not recovered. Besides that, there are serious concerns about toxin leaks into the environment as well as worker safety and health.

Initiatives and Policies on e-waste in India

Since 2015, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has collaborated with industry associations to launch an e-waste awareness program under Digital India to educate the public about the dangers of e-waste recycling by the unorganized sector and to educate them about alternative methods of disposing of their e-waste.

The program highlights the importance of environmentally friendly e-waste recycling practices and adopted the best e-waste recycling practices available globally so that this sector can create jobs as well as viable business opportunities for locals.

The E-waste Roadmap 2023 is an initiative of the IFC’s ‘India E-waste Program,’ and it is supported by the Government of Japan and the ‘World Bank Group’s Korea Green Growth Trust Fund’. The Program’s objectives are as follows:

  1. Facilitate the establishment and scaling up of a responsible industry-led solution for e-waste management in India that will serve as a long-term cost-effective solution
  2. Raise awareness among all stakeholders about the risks of not managing e-waste responsibly;
  3. Create a Toolkit to assist key stakeholders in the sector; and
  4. Assess the sector’s growth, bankability, and investment potential in order to mobilize investment.

Many developing countries, including India, are grappling with severe e-waste management issues. This is quickly turning into a huge public health problem, and it’s just getting worse. To collect, process, and dispose of e-waste separately, as well as divert it from landfills and open burning, it is necessary to combine the informal and formal sectors. In emerging and transition nations, competent authorities must establish procedures for the safe and long-term processing and disposal of e-waste.

Source: https://greene.gov.in

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E-Waste Management and Policy in India
The emergence of the IT and communication sectors has increased the use of electronic equipment exponentially. Consumers are being forced to abandon old electronic products more quickly as technology advances, adding e-waste to the solid waste stream.
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