e-waste a mounting challenge in Hyderabad

As per estimates, each year over 32 lakh metric tonnes of e-waste is generated in the city

By   |  Published: 5th Jun 2017  12:51 am
e-waste piled up at a scrap store in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad: As the city joins global celebrations to mark World Environment Day on Monday, questions remain on the ways of handling the mounting perils of e-waste here.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) which has been engaged in tackling the domestic garbage in a scientific manner, however, finds the task of managing the e-waste comprising discarded electronic devices and gadgets from computers and mobiles to television sets and refrigerators, a real challenging task.

Estimates suggest that each year, over 32 lakh metric tonnes of e-waste is generated in the city and it has been on the rise with commensurate increase in the usage of devices and gadgets.
Right from domestic sector to hospitals and corporates, all contribute to the growth of the e-waste in the city. While, television sets, mobiles and chargers among others join the waste from domestic usage, hospitals and health institutions dump cathode ray tubes, ECG devices etc. And to the mounting piles of e-waste, the corporates bring in copying machines, scanners, fax machines, air conditioners, tubelights and a host of other items.

As the sight of discarded computer keyboards, monitor screens, mobile handsets in the dust bins become increasingly common in the city so are the concerns over the possible health impacts from the untreated dumping of the e-waste. Among a host of other effects, e-waste has been found to be harmful, polluting ground water, resulting in acidification of soil and emission of toxic fumes.

“We need to have exclusive e-waste collection centres, which facilitate users to discard damaged electronics and other equipment,” says P Jyothi, an engineering student.
N Ravinder, Joint Chief Environmental Scientist, Telangana State Pollution Control Board, points out that awareness is the key factor to control increasing e-waste in the city. “There is need for more awareness about the adverse effects of e-waste as they contain lead, mercury and other chemical components. If segregated properly and recycled they can be useful and help in saving the environment,” he said.

Though there are five dismantling centres and 20 collection centres for collecting the e-waste in the city not many people turn up at the centres. Most tend to dump them on the roadsides or preserve them for a long time, he says.

EPR authorisation mandatory

In a bid to ensure effective collection of e-waste, the Union government has introduced Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) last year.

Under the EPR, it is the responsibility of the producer of electrical and electronic equipment for collecting and channelisation of e-waste to authorised dismantler or recycler. The EPR authorisation is mandatory and has to be obtained by all producers, including importers, e-retailers, online sellers, etc.

The producers can implement the EPR through take-back system or establishing collection centres or both for collection and transportation to dismantlers or recycling units.
Selling of electrical and electronic equipment by producers without EPR authorisation would be considered as violation of rules and would attract provisions under E(P) Act, 1986.