GS Paper 3

Source: Live Mint

Context: The government has notified E-waste (management) rules 2022, which will come into force from 1 April next year and apply to every manufacturer, producer refurbisher, dismantler and recycler of e-waste.


Key provisions of the Rules: 

  • Restricted the use of hazardous substances (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) in manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment that have an adverse impact on human health and the environment.
  • Increased the range of electronic goods covered e.g., laptops, mobile, cameras etc.
  • Targets fixed: Producers of electronic goods have to ensure at least 60% of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023 with targets to increase them to 70% and 80% in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
    • Companies will report these on an online portal.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility Certificates (similar to carbon credit mechanism): This will allow the offsetting of e-waste responsibility to a third party.
  • Environmental compensation’ to be provided by the companies that don’t meet their target.
  • Role of State Governments: They will earmark industrial space for e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities, undertaking industrial skill development and establishing measures for protecting the health and safety of workers engaged in the dismantling and recycling facilities for e-waste.
  • Role of manufacturers:
    • Make the end product recyclable
    • A component made by different manufacturers be compatible with each other
  • Role of Central Pollution Control Board: It shall conduct random sampling of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market to monitor and verify the compliance of reduction of hazardous substances provisions.


Impact of E-Wastes:

Toxins’ harmful health impact on humans includes damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and skeletal system. They can also have a significant effect on neurological and reproductive systems, resulting in sickness and birth abnormalities.


E-Waste refers to all items of electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by their owner as waste without the intent of re-use. India is the third-largest e-waste generator in the world after China and the USA (Global E-waste Monitor 2020).


Status of E-waste in India

  • One of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world
  • 95% of e-waste in India is recycled by the informal sector


Background of the Issue: 

Under E-Waste Management Rules 2016, it is mandatory for the organization to comply with the Extended producer responsibility of recycling e-waste. Complying with that, most firms outsourced recycling to organizations called Producer Responsibility Organizations (PRO). CPCB has registered 74 PROs.

In May 2022, Environment Ministry issued a draft notification that does away with PRO and dismantlers and vests all responsibility of recycling with authorized recyclers, only a handful of whom exist in India.


Now, Authorized Recyclers will source a quantity of waste, recycle them and generate electronic certificates. Companies can buy these certificates equivalent to their annual committed target and thus do not have to be involved with engaging PROs and dismantlers.



Recent government data shows that E-waste recycling has doubled in the country from a rate of 10% in 2017-18 has risen to 20% in 2018-19. What is needed is a sound market-based incentive that encourages both demand and supply-side factors to voluntarily adopt e-waste recycling. In this respect, the e-waste clinic at Bhopal is a pilot project wherein e-waste will be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the clinic in exchange for a fee, which needs to be studied for its success.


Insta Links

E-Waste management


Mains Links

Q. The Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the fastest-growing waste streams worldwide. Discuss the measures that are needed for the safe disposal of e-waste in the country. (250 Words)


Prelims Link

Due to improper/indiscriminate disposal of old and used computers or their parts, which of the following are released into the environment as e-waste? (UPSC 2013)

        1. Beryllium
        2. Cadmium
        3. Chromium
        4. Heptachlor
        5. Mercury
        6. Lead
        7. Plutonium

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only

(b) 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 only

(c) 2, 4, 5 and 7 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Answer: B

Heptachlor is an organochlorine compound that was used as an insecticide. Plutonium is a radioactive metallic element with the atomic number 94. It is not e-waste.


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