The government has decided to fund establishment of e-waste treatment facility as part of its waste management programme for 140 highly contaminated sites in the country, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said today.
"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday approved a Rs 350-crore World Bank-aided programme at two sites in Andhra Pradesh and eight in West Bengal on pilot basis for a period of four years," Ramesh told reporters here.
He said the objective of the project was to develop a national programme for rehabilitation of polluted 140 sites identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The need for such a programme has been felt to treat the 6.2 million tonnes of hazardous waste generated in the country, of which roughly 3.5 million tonnes is recyclable.
"For the balance 2.7 MTA, only 1.5 MTA is treated, stored and disposed of in 33 facilities set up in various states. To meet the capacity gap, we need Rs 85 crore of which Rs 22 crore has been allocated for the first three years of the XIth plan.
"We have asked the Planning Commission for additional Rs 63 crore for the remaining two years of the plan," Ramesh added.
By 2012, India is estimated to generate over 800,000 million tonnes (mt) of e-waste every year in view of increasing demand for laptops, refrigerators and mobile phones.
"Human and technical capacity in all state pollution control boards will also be built up as part of this project," he added.
The project is expected to yield environmental benefits like improvement in water and air quality, improved hygienic conditions, health benefits such as reduction in water-borne, vector-borne diseases and economic benefits like employment generation.
The project will also support measures for public awareness and community education. It would also facilitate developing a National Plan for Rehabilitation of Pollution Sites, sustaining the process beyond the project period.