PANAJI: The ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has revised the e-waste recovery target for manufacturers, aimed as a measure to curb its dumping in the environment, due to problems faced by them in adhering to the requirement.
While introducing the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016, and a concept of extended producer’s responsibility (EPR), the ministry had set the manufacturers targets that they collect 30% to 70% of the total e-waste they produce. This target was staggered over a period of seven years from 2017-18 to 2023. But a sizeable quantity of the waste is passed to the informal sector, exposing man and nature to harm due to unscientific practices for profits, sources said.
The manufacturers, who have to ensure that their outlived products are collected for proper recycling, have cited hurdles in complying with the ministry’s targets. “Consumers and dealers are not cooperating in ensuring collection of the e-waste and are instead routing it to scrap yards,” an industry source said.
The dealers are attracted by the refurbishment value of electronic goods. The products coming back to them under buy back and other schemes have functional parts which can be refitted in similar products. “It is a business game at the end of the day,” the industry source said. The e-waste ends up at the scrapyards and hardly a small percentage is fed into the official recovery system.
While relaxing the rules, the ministry has brought in E-Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018, dated March 22, 2018. The e-waste collection targets of 30% from 2017-18 have been reduced to just 10%, with an incremental rise of 10% every year. But the target of 70% in 2023, as set earlier, has been retained.
The new producers who started sales operations recently have also been brought under the EPR regime, considering the average life of their products, as mentioned in the guidelines. For these producers, the ministry has set a target of 5% onwards of the total sales done in 2016-17 for recovery of e-waste in 2018-2019.
India, which produced 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste in 2016, is still grappling with effective implementation of rules. Beginning with the E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011, the ministry transited to the new regimen in 2016 for stringent norms. In Goa, the government is struggling to put together an action plan for safe handling and recovery of the toxic waste.