BANGALORE: In the year 2010, the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) predicted that India’s annual e-waste production will increase to 800,000 tonnes by 2012. E-waste consists of electronic equipment which in the long run may prove to be hazardous to human health.
Most of the times, electrical equipment are discarded in dustbins.
E-waste is also the largest known source of heavy metals and organic pollutants in the waste stream. Today, the highly toxic chemicals have contaminated the soil, ground water and air.
In order to prevent such situations, the authorities have introduced a new set of rules on e-waste management and handling, exclusively for the producers of electrical and electronic equipment, collection centres, dismantlers and recyclers. In order to spread awareness among consumers and producers, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) conducted a workshop on March 17 where Senior Environmental Officer DR Kumaraswamy elaborated on the legal aspects of the Act. The new Act puts the entire onus on the producer as he is responsible for channellising e-waste generated during the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment. He is also responsible for making consumers aware of the hazardous components present in the product. Apart from this, he should also provide instructions to consumers for handling the equipment after its use along with the do’s and don’t’s.
They will also have to give information booklets in order to prevent e-waste from being dropped in garbage bins. However, the producer is not bound to obtain authorisation and registration unlike dismantlers and recyclers, for whom the Act makes it compulsory to apply for registration.
In such cases, where they already have registered under the hazardous management rules, one need not apply. This Act also caters to bulk consumers such as enterprises and the government who will also be responsible for recycling the e-waste generated by them.
The producers, collection centres, dismantlers and recyclers have to file annual returns in Form 3 to the State Pollution Control Board on or before June 30.
The State Pollution Control Board will be required to prepare and submit an annual report (based on the data received by consumers) to the CPCB with respect to implementation of these rules by September 30 of every year.
As far as the storage of hazardous equipment is concerned, it can be stored up to 180 days.
However, the new collection centre or recycler with the permission of the Board can store it up to 1 year and dispose it off together. Another interesting rule that has been added in this Act is that the records will be open for inspection to anyone anytime, from officials to the general public. The Board has the power to cancel the registration if anyone is found violating any rule under the Act. This Act will come into effect from May 1, 2012.
The former Chairman of the KSPCB, A S Sadashiviah said, “The reason for increasing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) can be attributed to technological developments, and instruments becoming smaller and cheaper. The volume of obsolete computers discarded or temporarily stored for later disposal is already a serious problem that is escalating at a rapid rate.
But with the cooperation from producers, collection centres, dismantlers and recyclers, this issue can be kept under strict scrutiny. The problems posed by obsolete computers will be solved by this new Act soon.”