E-waste management draft rules ignore unorganised sector: CSE
Government's proposed rules on e-waste management ignore the unorganised sector which is largely responsible for pollution and may prove ineffective in controlling illegal trade, the Centre for Science and Environment claimed today. "Of the 3.5 lakh tonnes of electronic waste generated every year in the country, more than 90 per cent is recycled by the unorganised sector. But the government chooses to ignore it in its draft rules," Kaushal P S Yadav, head of CSE's toxin and waste unit, told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.
He expressed concern that as the draft regulations allow only registered companies to recycle e-waste, it might be ineffective in controlling illegal trade in e-waste. Yadav claimed that a study by CSE had found that the main e-waste dismantling and recycling hubs extend from Seelampur in Delhi to Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh where more than 90 per cent of the e-waste generated in the country lands. "Infact, our sting operation has found that Roorkee based Attero Recycling which is the first and only license holder to import e-waste and carry end-to-end recycling is selling the dumped electronics in the unorganised sector instead of recycling it," Yadav alleged.
The CSE has complained to the environment ministry about this violation of rules. However, Nitin Gupta, owner of the Attero denied the allegations, claiming that only those electronic components for whom it has taken 'explicit' permission for refurbishing were sold.
Gupta threatened to file a defamation suit against the CSE. E-waste consists of used and discarded electronic gadgets such as computers, laptops and peripherals containing hazardous but also valuable elements such as gold and silver.
According to CSE, illegal import of e-waste in the country stands at about 50,000 tonnes annually. "Loopholes in the laws facilitate this. For instance, the Foreign Trade Act provides for donation of computers to educational and charitable institutions and hospitals," said Yadav.
The draft E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2010, for the first time in the country, bring in the concept of extended producer responsibility, making manufacturers liable for safe disposal of electronic goods. "But the rules are silent on the business model for collection of e-waste from consumers," he said, adding that also do not offer any assistance to help the informal sector to get organised.