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E-waste Management

What is Electronic waste (e-waste)?

1. It consists of waste electronics/electrical goods that are not fit for their originally intended use or have reached their end of life.

2. This may include laptops, calculators, printers, CDs, radios etc

How are e-wastes hazardous?

1. Electronic gadgets contain hazardous constituents although e-waste itself is not harmful.

2. They contain valuable materials like copper, silver etc which could be processed for their recovery. At this stage, e-wastes pose a hazard to health and environment.

3. Heavy metals such as lead, barium and cadmium contained in some electronic and electrical gadgets can be very harmful to health if they enter the water system.

4. They can also cause damage to human nervous and respiratory systems.

Why are e-wastes increasing?

1. Due to technological advancement and innovations, the electronics industry is growing fast.

2. Availability of electronics goods in the market has increased temptation of consumers to replace their household electronics items with newer models for various reasons.

3. This has led to higher rate of obsolescence, which is leading to growing piles of e-waste.

Where does India stand in e-waste generation?

1. India is among the world’s largest consumer of mobile phones.

2. Around 1.5 million tons of e-waste is generated annually in India.

3. Most consumers are still unaware of how to dispose of their e-waste.

4. Recycling of e-waste has been left to informal sector which does not have adequate means to handle these wastes properly.

Which steps have been taken for e-waste management?

1. The law on e-waste management was first passed in 2011.

2. It was based on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which put the onus on the producer for the management of the final stages of the life of its product, in an eco-friendly way.

3. It has been made mandatory for leading multinational companies to set up electronics manufacturing facilities and R&D centres for hardware and software.

4. E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 enacted since October 2017 has further strengthened the existing rules of EPR.

5. A new arrangement entitled, Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) has been introduced to strengthen EPR further.

6. PRO would be authorized or financed collectively or individually by producers, to share the responsibility for collection and channelization of e-waste.

7. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shall conduct random sampling of electrical and electronic equipment placed in the market to monitor and verify the compliance of law on Restriction of hazardous Substances (RoHS) and the cost of sampling and testing shall be borne by the producer.