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TV, computer to be dumped at selected centres

You cannot just chuck your old phones, printer cartridges and television sets into the municipal bin. Aloke Tikku and Chetan Chauhan report.

india Updated: May 30, 2011 23:47 IST

You cannot just chuck your old phones, printer cartridges and television sets into the municipal bin.

The government has notified a new set of rules this month for handling e-waste, making it mandatory for manufacturers to set up centres across the country within one year to collect old electrical and electronic equipment.

"Each manufacturer will notify a city wise list of collection agents within a year," said a senior environment ministry official.

But, the onus of collecting e-waste is more on manufacturer than on the consumer as the government feels penalty for the consumer can be misused by local implementing agencies. "There will be problem in its enforcement," an official explained.

The Delhi government has already registered some agents to collect electronic waste but officials believe that the notification giving powers to the pollution control boards to implement them will fasten the entire process.

The rule also casts the responsibility on consumers to ensure that e-waste generated by them lands up at these authorized collection centre or the recycler. Bulk consumers such as government departments and companies will additionally have to maintain a log of the e-waste generated by them.

In case of orphaned products including unbranded or assembled waste, the rules require local bodies to ensure collection of the e-waste.

The e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 – notified on 18 May – has been under extensive discussions for years, prompted by mounting concerns at the increase of e-waste generated in the country.

One estimate by the environment ministry last year estimated India would be the second largest generated of e-waste by 2012, next only to China. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh told the Rajya Sabha this April that e-waste in the country was estimated to grow from 1.47 lakh tonne in 2005 to 8 lakh tonne by 2012.

Most of this junk is recycled in unorganised sector in cities such Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh and Seelampur in the east Delhi.

The new rules will help bring them mechanism of setting up centres to collect, dismantle and recycle the out of use gadgets.

The rules also give manufacturers two years to bring down the use of hazardous substances in these equipment such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent to 0.1 percent by weight.