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Draft E-waste Management Rules

  • IASbaba
  • July 6, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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Context: Recently Environment Ministry has released Draft E-waste Management Rules, 2022, for public comments.

Draft Notification for Electronic Waste Management

  • Electronic Goods Covered: A wide range of electronic goods, including laptops, landline and mobile phones, cameras, recorders, music systems, microwaves, refrigerators and medical equipment have been specified in the notification.
  • E-Waste Collection Target: Consumer goods companies and makers of electronics goods have to ensure at least 60% of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023 with targets to increase them to 70% and 80% in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
  • Companies will have to register on an online portal and specify their annual production and e-waste collection targets.
  • EPR Certificates: The rules bring into effect a system of trading in certificates, akin to carbon credits, that will allow companies to temporarily bridge shortfalls.
  • The rules lay out a system of companies securing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates.
  • These certificates certify the quantity of e-waste collected and recycled in a particular year by a company and an organisation may sell surplus quantities to another company to help it meet its obligations.
  • Penalty: Companies that don’t meet their annual targets will have to pay a fine or an ‘environmental compensation’ but the draft doesn’t specify the quantum of these fines.
  • Implementing Authority:
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the main organisation in charge of coordinating EPR certificate transactions and ensuring that enterprises are fulfilling their targets.
  • The overall execution of these laws will be overseen by a steering committee led by the Chairman of the CPCB.
  • Responsibility of the State Governments:
  • Establishing steps to protect the health and safety of workers working in e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities, and
  • Earmarking industrial space for e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities.

Concerns

The proposed market for e-waste recycling appears unrealistic.

  • First, large-scale recycling of e-waste is still in its infancy in India.
  • Most of the recycling of valuable material is carried out within the informal sector using inefficient and unsafe technologies.
  • Given this a target to recycle 60% of the e-waste generated in 2022-23 appears too optimistic
  • Second, if the regulatory targets were to create a vibrant market for recycling, silence of draft on regulating registered collectors, dismantlers, and producer responsibility organisations is an issue.

Implementation

  • Experience from European countries suggests that recycling targets would likely be much more difficult for the regulators to monitor and enforce compared to collection targets.
  • Deciding whether the recycling target applies to every component of an e-product or it applies to its aggregate weight is important because the technological complexity and cost could vary by component.
  • The Steering Committee which oversee the overall implementation, monitoring, and supervision of the regulations lacks representation from science/academia and civil society organizations.

The draft e-waste Rules propose a few positive changes in India’s fight against waste management, however, it require careful deliberation with all the relevant stakeholders before the Rules are finalized.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Due to improper/indiscriminate disposal of old and used computers or their parts, which of the following are released into the environment as e-waste? (2013)

  1. Beryllium
  2. Cadmium
  3. Chromium
  4. Heptachlor
  5. Mercury
  6. Lead
  7. Plutonium

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only
  2. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 only
  3. 2, 4, 5 and 7 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Q.2) In India, ‘extended producer responsibility’ was introduced as an important feature in which of the following? (2019)

  1. The Bio-medical Waste (management and handling) rules,1998
  2. The Recycled Plastic (manufacturing and usage) rules, 1999
  3. The e- Waste (Management and handling) rules, 2011
  4. The food safety and standard regulations, 2011

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