The ministry of environment and forests has notified the new E-waste management and handling rules, extending the responsibility of electronics producers to disposing off their products after use.
Like many other countries, India has now made it mandatory for producers to put in place facilities and infrastructure to collect the items back when it is discarded by the consumer. The rules have been notified six days ago.
Besides, the rules also extend to importers, recyclers and intermediaries such as operators of collection centers. Consumers are also required under the proposed rules to turn in end-of-life products for recycling.
“This is not just a victory for the environment but business, as it creates a level-playing field,” said Abhishek Pratap, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
“The rule ensures a transition from the current out-of-sight out-of-mind approach to proper recycling of e-wastes and in the process accelerating the commercial introduction of green electronic products in the market,” he added.
Besides making electronics and mobile makers responsible for collecting and disposing off their old products, the rules will also go a long way in reducing the use hazardous chemicals in electronic manufacturing.
Among the challenges, environmentalists point to implementation and import of waste. “ The main challenge ahead lies in its implementation,” Pratap adds, pointing out that the rules don’t address the issue of e-waste import and export.
“The rule fails to provide safeguards to ensure the ban of import and export of electronic wastes. There is also scope for further improvement by making every producer financially liable for the e-wastes generated by their products, based on its toxicity,” Greenpeace said.