No option for safe disposal of e-Waste in Kerala

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Tvm: Even as Kerala makes rapid strides in the use of Information Technology and Communications, a serious environmental issue is in the offing as the state lacks a registered dismantling or recycling facility for hazardous e-waste. There are only 16 CPCB registered dismantlers or recyclers for the safe disposal of electronic waste in India.

Out of these 16 registered dismantlers or recyclers, five of them are in Karnataka, three each in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. As per a directive of Department of Information Technology under the Ministry of Communication & IT, Government of India, units handling and engaged in activity like collection, segregation, dismantling and recycling of e-wastes are required to register with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Electronic waste, e-waste, e-scrap, or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is the term used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded, obsolete, or broken electrical or electronic devices like computers, peripherals, entertainment devices and mobile phones.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has notified the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 for proper management and handling of hazardous waste including e-waste. MoEF has advised that e-waste generated in various offices should be disposed off in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with these Rules.

But most often we have seen these rules being followed on the contrary. It’s a usual sight to see discarded computers or printers with the local rag picker and waste dealer (akkiri kada / kabadiwala) or simply dumped somewhere. In the absence of suitable techniques and protective measures through a registered dismantler or recycler, the recycling e-waste in the informal and unorganised sector can result in toxic emissions to the air, water and soil and pose a serious health and environmental hazard.

Though the IT industry is generally perceived as a pollution-free industry, the disposal of old computers, peripherals and consumables is a serious issue and usually, they are given away as part of a company’s CSR activity rather than going in for a costly and scientific environmentally safe disposal. And for all other organisations and institutions which use computers massively like the Government or Schools, the lesser said, the better.

Anil Philip
Kerala IT News

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