E-waste: Fight that must be won with realistic goals and joint efforts


Utkarsh Ruhela

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has introduced newer stringent e-waste management rules in supersession of the e-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011.

Prakash Javadekar, minister of state of environment and climate change, said that norms have been made more stringent reflecting the government’s commitment to environmental governance.

He pointed out that the E-waste rules will now include Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamps, as well as other such equipment which will keep them out of municipal landfills, from which toxic chemicals including mercury leaked to contaminate the ground water in the past.

The producers have been made responsible for collection of E-waste and for its exchange under “extended producer responsibility.” Producers’ obligation to take care of e-waste will go up from 30 percent in the first year to 70 per cent in the seventh year.

The role of state governments has been also introduced to ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations. The provision to impose penalty to violators of these new rules is a welcome change.

This path might prove effective in the fight against rising e-waste, which is proving to be an obvious side-effect of Moore’s law. As Indian consumers would be more than willing to extract the economic value from the used e-waste.

The rapid rise in increase of sales of electronic products and the lack of required infrastructure is a grave concern for the government and as well as citizens, where only hand-in-hand measures can help reduce the drastic repercussions of the impending disaster.

Javadekar adds, “The bulk consumers must collect the items and hand them over to authorized recyclers.”

In the end it is a fight which should be fought and won with setting realistic goals and joint efforts.