UPPCB to develop mega recycling hubs for plastic, medical, e-waste
The state pollution control board is planning to develop five dedicated mega hubs for waste recycling, focusing on plastic, e-waste and non-biodegradable medical waste like single-use PPE kits, gloves masks etc. These hubs will be able to recycle all kinds of plastic, e-waste and single-use medical waste as per the existing modern scientific methods with minimum impact on the environment.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) officials, plans are to set up these facilities in at least five places across the state. UPPCB chief environment officer RK Singh said, “The mega hubs will house over 50 facilities each to recycle medical plastic with different modern methods. These facilities will be operated by private partners, while the government will provide the basic infrastructure, making it a public-private partnership (PPP) work model.”
The plan was proposed on suggestions from environmental experts and researchers, who apprised the board about the spike in the single-use medical plastic and e-waste during Covid-19 times.
“Electronic waste accounts for 40% of lead and 70% of heavy metals found in our landfills. These pollutants are responsible for groundwater contamination, air and soil pollution,” said Shalini Sharma, CEO of Sanshodhan, an E-Waste Exchange programme. Sharma added that the real issue is the way the e-waste is recycled. “Nearly 95% of recycling of electronic waste is carried out by the unskilled informal sector that poses a threat to both the recycler and the environment. It is the prerogative of the state government to formalise this sector by providing training and required infrastructure.”
The situation has become alarming, considering that Uttar Pradesh is among the leading producers of e-waste in the country.
Moreover, as per UPPCB estimates 40K tonnes of biomedical waste was generated, across the state, in the last two years. Almost one-third of which was in form of disposable PPE kits, masks, testing swabs, pipettes etc... used in the management of Covid-19 patients.
The location of these hubs is yet to be finalised, but Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Kanpur and Prayagraj are among the most probable locations, according to senior officials of the board. “Moradabad and Ghaziabad are already major hubs for e-waste recycling in the state. They process almost one-third of the total e-waste generated in the state,” said a senior member of the board.
UPCCB officials are also reaching out to researchers and companies currently working in the recycling industry for guidance in the development of these mega hubs. Research institutes under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are also being roped in.
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