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Draft e-waste Rules

  • IASbaba
  • August 2, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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In News: Recently Environment Ministry has released Draft E-waste Management Rules, 2022, for public comments.

Proposed Features + Concerns

Stats

  • The Environment Ministry estimated 7,70,000 tons of e-waste to have been generated in 2018-19 and around one million tons in 2019-20 of which only a fifth (about 22% in both years) has been confirmed to be “dismantled and recycled.”

Background

  • A proposed framework by the Centre for regulating e-waste in India has upset a key link of India’s electronic waste collection system and threatens the livelihood of thousands.
  • Electronic waste that are past their shelf life is largely handled by India’s vast informal sector.
  • Many of these units are run out of unregulated sweatshops that employ child labour and hazardous extraction techniques.
  • This electronic detritus also contributes to contaminating soil as well as plastic pollution.
  • To address all of this, the environment ministry brought the E waste (Management) Rules, 2016, that introduced a system of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) compelling makers of electronic goods to ensure a proportion of the goods they sold every year was recycled.
  • They are expected to maintain records annually demonstrating this.
  • Most companies however didn’t maintain an in-house unit in charge of recycling and this gave rise to network of government-registered companies, called Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO) who acted as an intermediary between manufacturers of electronic goods and formal recycling units that were technologically equipped to safely and efficiently recycle end-of-life electronic goods.
  • As of March, the Central Pollution Control Board has registered 74 PROs, and 468 authorised dismantlers who have a collective recycling capacity of about 1.3 million tons.

Draft Rules

  • Recently the Environment Ministry issued a draft notification that does away with PRO and dismantlers and vests all responsibility of recycling with authorised recyclers, only a handful of whom exist in India.
  • Recyclers will source a quantity of waste, recycle them and generate electronic certificates.
  • Companies can buy these certificates equivalent to their annual committed target and thus do not have to be involved with engaging PROs and dismantlers. T
  • Several PROs have mailed their objections to the Environment Ministry arguing that dismantling a fledgling system was detrimental to the future of e-waste management in India.
  • Under the new rules, recyclers will likely establish their own supply chains and companies will no longer bear any responsibility for ensuring that their produce is recycled.

Concern

  • Five years of investing and putting in place a system to collect and channelise waste was under threat as about 25,000-30,000 were employed in this sector.

E-waste Management Rules, 2016:

  • The Central Government, in the exercise of the powers provided under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, had notified e-waste management rules in 2016.
  • These rules supersede the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
  • The rules aim to enable the recovery and/or reuse of useful material from e-waste, and to ensure the environmentally sound management of all types of waste of electrical and electronic equipment.
  • For the first time, the rules brought the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets.
  • Producers have been made responsible for the collection of E-waste and for its exchange.
  • The manufacturers, dealers, e-retailers, and refurbishers have been brought under the ambit of these rules to ensure that the e-waste is effectively channelized and disposed of.
  • The urban local bodies have been assigned the responsibility of collecting back the e-waste arising from the orphan products and channelizing it to authorized dismantler or recycler.

Amendment to EWM Rules, 2016:

In 2018, the EWM Rules were further amended.

  • The new E-Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018 has the provision of introduction of Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) registration.
  • PRO is defined as a professional organization which can take the responsibility for collection and channelization of e-waste to ensure environmentally sound management of such e-waste.
  • PROs are now required to register with CPCB under the new Rules.
  • PROs will also have to prove that all collection is legitimate and share proofs for such collection.

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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