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A decent burial for electronics

For anyone who wants to be environmentally responsible, here’s good news. The Ministry of Environment and Forests announced special rules for e-waste — electronic and electric waste.
Hindustan Times | By Bharti Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2010 12:42 AM IST

For anyone who wants to be environmentally responsible, here’s good news. The Ministry of Environment and Forests announced special rules for e-waste — electronic and electric waste. A progressive aspect of the rules is the manufacturer of the product has to take responsibility for it even when it is discarded. This means setting up ways of collecting it, ensuring it is safely recycled and that consumers know what to do with the product. India hasn’t always had a happy history with this idea, known globally as Extended Producer Responsibility. We have tried it for lead acid batteries, the kind you use in a car. Unfortunately, lead acid batteries continue to be recycled in toxic shanty operations because the manufacturers and the public ignored the laws. Hopefully, the trajectory of e-waste will be different. As consumers, our first task after August this year should be to buy only those products that are labelled as potential e-waste with corporate responsibility for sound disposal. If not, there’s always a greener brand.

Act as you preach

The Delhi Government recently said that using coolers instead of air conditioning saves a huge amount of electricity. There is no doubt about that. My problem is this: the Delhi Secretariat still uses air conditioners. Why doesn’t it follow its own advice? Agreed, the Secretariat building is engineered for air-conditioning. But it can be easily modified and an example set. Even mobile coolers can be fitted here. Before our government metes out advice, we should hold it accountable by its own standards, action by action.

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