Govt tightens e-waste rules, offers sops to consumers

By Vishwa Mohan TOI, dated 24.03.2016

New Norms To Cover CFLs Too

Waking up to the challenge of managing hazardous e-waste, the Centre on Wednesday notified revised rules to collect, dismantle and recycle all electronic and electrical waste by expanding its ambit, extending incentives to consumers who hand over waste to dealers or retailers and introducing a financial penalty clause for violators.The government, under E waste (Management) Rules 2016, has, for the first time, also brought under its purview the management of the waste generated from disposal of Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamps. These items were no covered under the earlier rules framed five years ago.

Though the responsibility to implement these rules will lie with the state governments, new economic instruments of `e-waste exchange' and `deposit refund scheme' will act as incentives for consumers to voluntarily adopt the system of waste management.

Under the `deposit refund scheme', the manufacturer or producer will charge an additional amount as deposit at the time of sale of electronic or electrical equipment. It will be returned to the consumers along with interest when the end-oflife equipment is returned.

It will, however, be an optional financial mechanism for effective implementation of `extended producer responsibility' that makes the producers or manufacturers responsible for collection of e-waste as well as its disposal in an environmentally sound manner. If the manufacturers or producers fail to adhere to their roles, they will be financially penalised as per the amount specified by state governments. On the other hand, the concept of `e-waste exchange' has been introduced as an independent market instrument offering services for sale and purchase of e-waste. It means, if a consumer deposits hisher end-of-life equipment to such service providers, heshe will get specified amount for the scrap.

Announcing the notification, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The norms have been made more stringent and reflect the government's commitment to environmental governance. Today , dismantling of e-waste is done in an unorganised and unscientific way . People are after precious metals like gold and silver. They take it out of the e-products and then burn the leftover which generates toxic gases. They also throw the waste in water. All these pollute soil, water and air and affect human health“.

Speaking about the magnitude of e-waste, the minister noted that 100 crore mobiles are used every year in the country , out of which 25 crore become e-wastes.

About revised rules, he said, “There is also a liability clause with financial penalties, where environmental degradation is happening and things are not being done scientifically“.

Under the new rules, the dealer, if given the responsibility of collection on behalf of manufacturers or producers, will need to collect e-waste by providing the consumer a box and channelise it to the producer for sending it to authorised dismantling centres.

New rules say the department of industry in state will ensure earmarking of industrial space for e-waste dismantling and recycling in the existing and upcoming industrial parks.

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