The new electronic waste legislation proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has come under fire from experts saying it does not adhere to the international conventions and will open the floodgates for e-waste dumping in India.
A PTI report from Mumbai said hazardous e-waste was entering India under the guise of charity and study material from abroad and was threatening the country’s environment. “There is no clarity in laws handling waste which comes to our ports in the guise of charity goods or study material,” said Joint Commissioner, Customs, Rajiv Yadav.
Bas de Leeuw, head of the strategy unit of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said, “India should design a better legal structure and all stake-holders should be taken into confidence to protect the environment.” Largescale unethical export of e-waste by industrialised nations is taking place, he added. Ramapati Kumar of Greenpeace said the draft e-waste legislation, if enacted in the present form, would open the floodgates to e-waste dumping in India. “It is a toothless piece of paper,” he said.
An estimate by Toxic Links, an NGO dealing with e-waste, said every year over 50,000 tonnes of e-waste was dumped in Indian cities. The draft Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) bill circulated by the government earlier this year envisages regulation of dumping of electronic waste from homes and industry.
Only agents registered with the Central Pollution Control Board would be authorised to buy e-waste from consumers.