Currently, 90% of e-waste is managed by the unorganized sector comprising of unskilled kabaadiwallas. There is a pressing need to integrate this unorganized sector with the organized sector through skill development.
"Creating awareness among every individual on eco-friendly recycling of electronic waste is the most important step for the successful implementation of the E-waste Management Rules 2016. It is the responsibility of every citizen to comply with these rules. Maharashtra is the first state to introduce inventorisation of e-waste in 2005. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has introduced the enforcement policy for the E-Waste Management Rules 2016, however it does not allow its tribunal and officials to prosecute defaulter to prevent unfair prosecutions. A field officer can only issue a show cause notice till is heard by an official at a higher level of the Pollution Control Board. Unlike the earlier rule of 2011, the revised e-waste management rules (2016) provides simplified procedure for authorization of e-waste recyclers, extending responsibility of waste management to refurbishers as well," said Mr. Nandkumar Namdev Gurav, Regional Officer, Technical, MPCB at a Workshop on E- Waste Management — Challenges, Prospects and Strategies. The workshop was organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with All India Association of Industries (AIAI), and supported by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and World Trade Centre Mumbai. The key feature of the E-Waste Management Rules 2016 is the introduction of the provision of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for effective channelization of E-waste to the registered dismantlers or recyclers.
Dr. N. J. Singh, Whole Time Director (EHS), DCM Shriram pointed out that India has emerged as the world's 5th largest electronic waste producer and it discards roughly 18.5 lakh tonne of e-waste every year where in telecom equipment alone accounts for 12%. The industry must focus on environmentally sustainable and harmonized approach for recycling.
Mr. Sumit Patil, Consultant Environmental Sustainability, Health & Safety, TCS Ltd., explained the in-house e-waste management system adopted by the company based on its policy on Management and Disposal of e-waste.
Mr. B.K. Soni, Chairman & MD, Eco Recycling Ltd. opined that the government must focus on the three Is of training, transport and technology to create a sustainable formal system of e-waste management. The first T refers to imparting of skills on informal kabadiwalas about eco-friendly methods of e-waste management. The second T refers to investment in reverse logistics to transport e-waste from generation points to collection centres. The third T refers to use of cutting-edge technology to recover assets from e-waste.
Making suggestions to the government, Mr. Raman Sharma, Director, Exigo Recycling Pvt. Ltd. said the government must introduce National Pricing Strategy for people disposing electronic waste, simplify compliance and administrative procedures. The government must also make it compulsory for manufacturers to introduce deposit refund scheme to incentivize consumers to return their old hardwares. Also, the municipal authorities must cancel tender process for awarding waste management contracts and instead choose from a panel of 3-4 recyclers, he suggested.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai said, "Prosecution cannot be the only solution to solve the menace of e-waste. The government must provide amnesty scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) not complying with the e-waste rules and must start education and awareness programme at the grassroot level for better compliance in future. Considering that 60% of the waste is generated in around 10 cities in India, the e-waste management drive must largely focus on metros. There are over 500,000 rag pickers in Mumbai and the government must train them on efficient e-waste management practices. The industry and government must work together to create an effective legal framework to address e-waste menace. The government must offer incentives such as tax rebate for industries to comply with e-waste rules. The government must also appoint a celebrity ambassador to promote best practices in e-waste management. The informal e-waste recyclers must be integrated with the formal sector through training and skill development."