By Kaushik Bhattacharya
The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT), in a recent order, directed all State Governments to set up a mechanism of surveillance to curb the illegal processing of electronic waste.
The tribunal released the order in response to a grievance against burning of e-waste in Sarurpur Industrial Area in Faridabad by various industrial units. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson of the tribunal, in the order, instructed all State Governments to come up with the mechanism to reduce illegal e-waste burning as per the recommendation of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Nagpur is among the Top Ten cities that generate highest e-waste in the country per month. Nagpur city generates 1,769 tons of e-waste every month, whereas very less percentage of e-waste recycling takes place.
For recycling, the Central Government has nominated some recycling units in every city, which are able to recycle e-waste scientifically and without polluting nature. To handle 1,769 tons of e-waste every month, there is only one authorised recycler in Nagpur. Due to lack of awareness about e-waste, citizens hand over their household e-waste
directly to scrap dealers, who burn the e-waste illegally.
“It is necessary to ensure compliance with E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 on a continuous basis. It is necessary to prevent burning of e-waste and scientific disposal of e-waste as per norm,” the order stressed.
“Burning of e-waste will result in a devastating impact on their health and on the city’s environment. The toxic air pollutants are released in the air by the burning of e-waste, which contains lead, cadmium, mercury, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), chromium, beryllium, etc,” said the tribunal. Long-term exposure to these substances damages the nervous system, kidney, bones and the reproductive and endocrine systems, the plea read.
The plea also referred to the last year’s NGT order directing action on the issue of e-waste burning in the context of Delhi and Ghaziabad. But no action has been taken for compliance with directions of the tribunal, it was alleged.
According to CPCB, 437 out of 530 authorised e-waste dismantling units are operating in 20 states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The tribunal also asked CPCB to monitor compliance at least twice a year by holding Virtual Conferences with the Member Secretaries of all pollution control bodies.
In its report, the CPCB also highlighted the issue of leakage of e-waste from even the authorised recyclers. Bulk consumers should channel their e-waste only to the producer’s system of collection or authorised recyclers, it suggested.