With newer models of electronics entering the market faster than ever, e-waste is growing in India at an alarming rate. As much as 1.46 lakh tonnes of electrical and electronic waste is generated in the country annually, over 80% from households.
Most of this waste is not recycled in an eco-friendly manner. It is often dumped or recycled on the roads. According to a Greenpeace report, India generated 3,80,000 tonnes of e-waste in 2007. Only 3% of this made it to authorised recycling facilities.
E-waste generation in the country is expected to cross the 8,00,000-tonne mark by 2012. By 2015, two billion PCs are expected to invade our homes and India's mobile subscriber base is expected to touch 450 million.
To gain some control over the situation, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has appealed to all institutions and business houses using electronic goods to declare the quantity of e-waste generated. The firms will now have to obtain an authorisation as per the provisions of the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trans-boundary Movement) Rules, 2008.
"This decision was long overdue. But implementation will be difficult," said Debi Goenka, Conservation Action Trust.
Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace toxins campaigner, believes a separate law is needed for effective action. "The entire electronic waste is not hazardous. Certain components and process are safe for reuse. First we must classify hazardous components and processes or the rules set currently will not be as effective."
Apart from the e-waste produced in the country, around 50,000 tonnes comes annually from developed countries in the garb of reusable magnanimity and makes its way to unsafe, unauthorised dumping yards where it is dismantled manually, according to Nitin Gupta, CEO of Attero Recyclying, a company that set up a sophisticated e-waste-processing plant in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, in 2008. The firm has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai.
Attero has become the first e-waste recycler to be registered with the Central Pollution Control Board. The firm, whose Mumbai office is at Dimple Arcade, Thakur Complex, Kandivli (E), picks up e-waste from customers. At the time of collection and transportation, complete data security is guaranteed to clients.