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Maharashtra govt aims to crackdown on e-waste after plastics

After plastic, the state government will crack down on electronic waste. Producers of electrical and electronic goods like television sets, computers and mobile phones will be directed to fulfil mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) by setting up comprehensive e-waste management and recycling systems.

While ensuring scientific disposal of electronic waste, the plan will also prevent hazardous metals from polluting the environment due to improper dismantling processes which can cause health crisis due to the presence of heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury. Maharashtra generates a huge amount of e-waste due to strong presence of the IT/ ITES industry and high tele-density.

“We are assessing the annual and monthly production of e-waste, installed recycling capacity and its utilisation, the gap between the two across the state and what needs to be done (for scientific disposal of e-waste),” P.Anbalagan, member secretary, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) told DNA. The inventory mapping exercise, which is at the final stage, will look at look at these values for every city and district, he said.

“After plastic, it is the turn of e-waste. Once we understand the actual gap between the production of e-waste and the recycling capacity, the manufacturers of electronic goods will be assessed on the fulfilment of their extended producers’ responsibility,” said a senior MPCB official.

He added that manufacturers and producers of electronic, electrical and computer peripherals will be directed to submit a plan detailing their collection and recycling apparatus and will be given time to improve and bridge any gaps. “They will be asked to set up facilities like collection centres as part of a comprehensive e-waste management system. This can be done by producers and manufacturers or they can outsource it,” said a senior MPCB official.

Under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, producers of electrical or electronic equipment have to ensure environmentally sound management of e-waste. This may include buy-back systems, setting up of collection centres and arrangements with authorised dismantlers or recyclers.

Since e-waste contains hazardous metals like lead, mercury, nonylphenol, polychlorinated biphenyls and cadmium, its improper recycling and disposal, which may include crude ways of dismantling and open burning may cause exposure to toxins and mingling of pollution of land, air and water.

The term ‘e-waste’ refers to “electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part discarded as waste by the consumer or bulk consumer as well as rejects from manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes.”

According to a 2007 MPCB report on “Assessment of Electronic Wastes in Mumbai-Pune Area,” as per a country level Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) assessment study, Mumbai generated the maximum such waste across India.

“Total WEEE waste generation in Maharashtra is 20270.6 tons, out of this Navi Mumbai contributes 646.48 tons, Greater Mumbai 11017.06 tons, Pune 2584.21 tons and Pimpri-Chinchwad 1032.37 tons,” it said.

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