The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) recently released the updated e-Waste Management Rules, 2016. The new rules are a more stringent version of the past rules largely due to the rising awareness about the harms of e-waste among the government and the masses. The rules come in supersession to the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
E-waste refers to discarded electric or electronic devices. The toxic constituents present in e-waste and their disposal mechanism affect human health and can lead to various diseases.
In India, around 17 lakh tonnes of e-waste is generated every year. At the same time, its generation increases by about 5 per cent annually.
With this in mind, the MoEFCC has come out with more efficient rules this time around. According to the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, the new Rules reflect the Government’s commitment to environmental governance.
The E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 will now also apply to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and other mercury containing lamps, as well as other such equipment.
For the first time, producers (of electrical/electronic goods) have been made responsible for collection of e-waste and its exchange through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). There are additional new stakeholders in the Rules as well.
Various producers can have a separate Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) which will ensure collection of e-waste from bulk consumers, as well as its disposal in an environmentally sound manner.
The process of dismantling and recycling has also been simplified in these new Rules.
The role of state governments has been introduced to ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in the dismantling and recycling operations.
Additionally, provision of penalty for violation of rules has been introduced.
E-waste reduction and recycling is not all that difficult and we can all become stakeholders in the movement against irresponsible disposal of e-waste by following the 3 Rs.
We hope the new Rules come quickly into effect and are adopted by all so that the condition of our planet improves by the passing day. After all, one small policy change in the right direction leads to larger long-term benefits for today and tomorrow.
Image by fairphone via Flickr