E-waste Rules to be Out by March 2010
The Ministry of Environment & Forest said it is currently developing a dedicated set of rules to govern the management and handling of e-waste
These will be put in the public domain for comments by March 2010. The said draft rules were jointly proposed and submitted to the Government by the MAIT, GTZ, Greenpeace and Toxics Link in September 2009. An expert committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests is currently reviewing the draft.
E-waste, the end-of-life electrical and electronics equipments, is characterized by two main attributes: it is hazardous while processing, due to its content of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) etc., but it is valuable, due to the content of precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium, copper etc. E-waste recycling by the informal sector with little or no access to capital and technology, using highly hazardous and polluting techniques is a reality in some of the densely populated regions of India. India today does not have a dedicated legislation for environmentally sound management of e-waste.
The proposed rules lay emphasis on responsibility of the producers - manufacturers and vendors, including financial responsibility, extending beyond the sales of equipment and setting up of take-back systems for effective management and handling of e-waste.
Further, all stakeholders including the dealers, dismantlers, collectors, recyclers and the government agencies for implementation and monitoring have to executive their responsibilities in tandem. Detailed liabilities and obligations of all stakeholders have been clearly spelt out in the proposed legislations.
The draft rules advocate RoHS - the need to Restrict Hazardous Substances in the electronics equipment. An attempt has also been made to simplify the various procedures for better compliance.
Reassuring the IT Hardware Industry’s commitment towards managing and minimising e-waste, Vinnie Mehta, Executive Director, MAIT said, "Most IT brands have taken pro-active measures for controlling and managing e-waste resulting from their products. All IT products being offered in the market today are RoHS (Restrictions on Hazardous Substances) compliant. Further, leading brands today have set up their own take-back and collections systems."
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