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.
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.
- 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)
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
- 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only
- 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 only
- 2, 4, 5 and 7 only
- 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)
- The Bio-medical Waste (management and handling) rules,1998
- The Recycled Plastic (manufacturing and usage) rules, 1999
- The e- Waste (Management and handling) rules, 2011
- The food safety and standard regulations, 2011