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 ASSOCHAM Expert Committee on Environment a Seminar on “E-Waste Policy for India”, Assocham ›› EWASTE / WEEE Recycling, WEEE - Ewaste, WEEE - Cable Recycling, WEEE - Cellular Phones Recycling, WEEE - Battery Recycling, WEEE - Lamps & Picture Tubes Recycling, WEEE - Photovoltaic Product Recycling, WEEE - Printer & Fax Cartridges Recycling, WEEE - Refrigerator Recycling, WEEE - WEEE Recycling, WEEE - Lamps & Picture Tubes Recycling, WEEE - Cellular Phones Recycling, WEEE - Photovoltaic Product Recycling, WEEE - Printer & Fax Cartridges Recycling, WEEE - Refrigerator Recycling, WEEE - WEEE Recycling, WEEE - Cable Recycling ,Nepra Environmental Solutions Pvt. Ltd - SAP,Ahmedabad ›› 
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ASSOCHAM Expert Committee on Environment a Seminar on “E-Waste Policy for India”, Assocham  
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E-Waste Policy for India


Under the aegis of ASSOCHAM Expert Committee on Environment a Seminar on “E-Waste Policy for India” was held in New Delhi on May 26, 2006.  Designed with the aim of spreading awareness on the hazards of   E-waste in the country, discussing E-waste management & disposal options and inviting inputs for framing an E-Waste policy for the country, this well-attended Seminar had discussants representing industry, research and development institutions, environmental organizations and consultants, legal practitioners, and E-waste recyclers.


The Keynote Speaker in the Seminar was Dr. R.S. Mahawar, Additional Director Central Pollution Control Board. Eminent speakers, such as Mr. P. Ravindranath, Director, Government and Public Affairs, Hewlett-Packard India, Mr. Amit Jain, Management Director – India Operations, IRG SSA, Dr. T.K. Joshi, Director, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Government of NCT of Delhi, Mr. Gaurang Baxi, Manager, Corporate HSE, Kodak India, Mr. Rahul Sharma, Director, TRI International Limited, Dr. S.K. Pachauri, Former Director General, National Productivity Council and Ex-Secretary to the Government of India, Mr. M.S. Nagar, Ex CMD, Indian Rare Earths Ltd. and former Consultant, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Dr. Usha Dar, President, Council of Industrial Environmental Relations in Delhi, shared their views and experiences in this Seminar.


In the backdrop of resurgent growth of the Indian economy and greater reliance on electronic hardware for household, industrial and office automation, commitment to eco-responsibility was seen as a sine qua non for the society, economy and the environment.


There was unanimity that electronic waste containing substances like lead, cadmium, mercury, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has immense potential to cause enormous harm to human health and environment, if not disposed properly since the extant prescriptions for its disposal and safeguard were inadequate.  Thus, the imperative need for early formulation of a holistic E-waste legislation which will eventually lead to enabling policy.  It was consensually agreed that such a policy must appropriately reflect the concerns of various stakeholders besides views of practitioners in the field, both in the organized and the unorganized sector.


The deliberations in the Seminar highlighted the likely enormity in the magnitude of E-waste to be generated every year (approx 1,50,000 tonnes).  Issues relating to poor sensitisation about this sector, low organized recycling, cross-border flow of waste equipment into India, limited reach out and awareness regarding disposal, after determining end of useful life, and lack of coordination between various authorities responsible for E-waste management and disposal including the non-involvement of municipalities in E-waste management were discussed threadbare.  The emerging global trend of producer responsibility for disposal after useful life becoming the governing principle globally by the year 2008 and lack of steps in India in this regard were cited prominently during the deliberations.


Conscious of the prevalent uncertainties regarding “when, where, and how” to dispose hazardous, harmful E-waste, the role of informal sector in the process and the necessity of introducing a comprehensive framework early, ASSOCHAM affirms its commitment to assist the Government in carving out an inclusive E-waste management policy, as for meeting the need for finding an “India Unique Solution”, that strikes a visionary balance between precepts and praxis for sustainable management of E-waste, such a policy alone can bring the desired paradigm shift.


ASSOCHAM, in recognition of this urgent necessity of proper management of    E-waste in the country therefore recommends for consideration of the Government the following :


1. Promulgate an all-embracing national E-waste Management law, and an all-encompassing policy thereunder, for substituting the existing Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2003, as the latter are not comprehensive enough to attain the aforesaid objectives. 


2. Initiate the process for complete national level assessment, covering all the cities and all the sectors.  Such base line study must envelope inventories, existing technical and policy measures required for emergence of national E-waste policy/strategy and action plan for eco-friendly, economic E-waste management.  The study should also culminate in identifying potentially harmful substances and testing them for adverse health and environmental effects for suggesting precautionary measures.


3. Create a public-private participatory forum of decision making, problem resolution in E-waste management.  This could be a Working Group comprising Regulatory Agencies, NGOs, Industry Associations, experts etc. to keep pace with the temporal and spatial changes in structure and content of E-waste.  This Working Group can be the feedback providing mechanism to the National Nodal Authority in the Government that will periodically review the existing rules, plans and strategies for E-waste management.


4. ASSOCHAM as a Knowledge Chamber advocates creation of  knowledge data base on end of useful life determination, anticipating the risks, ways of preventing and protecting from likely  damage and safe and timely disposal of E-waste.  It accordingly urges the Government to promote Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities in schools, colleges, industry etc. to enhance the knowledge base on E-waste management using the PPP mode.


5. Creation of data base on best global practices and failure analyses for development and deployment of efficacious E-waste management and disposal practices within the country.


6. Device ways and means to encourage beneficial reuse/recycling of E-waste, catalyzing business activities that use E-waste.


7. Formulate and regulate occupational health safety norms for the E-waste recycling, now mainly confined to the informal sector.


8. Review the trade policy and exim classification codes to plug the loopholes often being misused for cross-border dumping of E-waste into India.


9. Insist on stringent enforcement against wanton infringement of Basel convention and E-waste dumping by preferring incarceration over monetary penalties for demonstrating deterrent impact.


10. Foster partnership with manufacturers and retailers for recycling services by creating an enabling environment so as dispose E-waste scientifically at economic costs.


11. Mandate sustained capacity building for industrial E-waste handling for policy makers, managers, controllers and operators.  Enhance consumer awareness regarding the potential threat to public health and environment by electronic products, if not disposed properly. 


12. Enforce labeling of all computer monitors, television sets and other household/industrial electronic devices for declaration of hazardous material contents with a view to identifying environmental hazards and ensuring proper material management and E-waste disposal.


13. Announce incentives for growth of E-waste disposal agencies so that remediation of environmental damage, threats of irreversible loss and lack of scientific knowledge do not anymore pose hazards to human health and environment.  Simultaneously, as a proactive step, municipal bodies must be involved in the disposal of e-waste lest it becomes too late for their intervention, should large handling volumes necessitate it.


14. Consider gradual introduction of enhanced producer responsibility into Indian process, practices and procedures so that preventive accountability gains preponderance  over polluter immunity.


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