[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
ITANAGAR, Jul 9: Arunachal Pradesh is yet to fully comply with the environment, forest & climate change ministry’s E-waste Management Rules, 2016, even as the rest of the Northeast states have agreed to sit and talk on the issue of coming up with state circulars and disposal policies.
According to Section 12 of the E-waste Management Rules, the state government is responsible for environmentally sound management of electronic waste (e-waste).
Giving an insight into the e-waste scenario of the state, Guwahati-based Rongjeng Technologies Project Head (E-waste) Babul Gogoi said, “Arunachal Pradesh has no proper e-waste disposal policy as per the current law.”
Rongjeng Technologies is an e-waste collection agency in the Northeast under the Karo Sambhav (the producer responsibility organisation).
As per the E-waste Management Rules, the government of India separated electronic waste from other wastes, such as solid waste. The responsibility of managing electronic waste lies with the producer, manufacturer or importer of electronic products. They have two obligations – to collect the waste and send it to the recycling centre, and to organise awareness programmes on the hazardous effects of e-waste.
“Even authorized distributors selling electronic items in any state have to comply with the rules, or the state’s pollution control board can cancel their extended producer responsibility (EPR). And once their EPR is cancelled, their operation can be shut down,” informed Gogoi.
While it is a powerful tool to keep a check on e-waste, the two-year-old rule is being ignored instead of being enforced.
Any office with over 20 employees or a Rs 1-crore turnover is a bulk consumer, and it must comply with the rules and dispose of e-waste responsibly and maintain an inventory of e-waste.
As per the Meghalaya Pollution Control Board, whoever defies the rules will be fined up to Rs 1 lakh or attract a five-year jail term, or both, as per the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
“About 95 percent of e-waste is found in large offices and the rest is found with daily consumers, which is why Rongjeng Technologies is currently concentrating on bulk e-waste and not household e-waste,” informed Gogoi.
“We had trained several people in Arunachal to collect e-waste, but were only able to collect 1000 kgs since October 2017 because bulk of the waste is in government offices and they deal with the waste through auction, tender notice, or bigger aggregators,” said Gogoi.
“We gave several proposals to the IT department but no one has got back to us,” informed Gogoi.
The agency has also held programmes in over 200 schools in the Northeast, including 25 schools in the capital complex, to create awareness on the environment and e-waste.
“We require a state-level consultation, and invite the policy makers of the departments concerned, such as finance, forest, IT, etc. A local circular is required to implement the policy in the true spirit,” said Gogoi.
“If the government of Arunachal Pradesh is willing, we will take their e-waste and dispose it at our cost. Taking waste from Changlang to Haryana is an expensive process, but we will take it. We have the money for transportation, and will offer money for the e-waste at per kilogram rate,” assured Gogoi.
There are over 150 recycling centres in India, and in 2015-16, there was an audit of all the centres under the IFC World Bank study. There are barely five legal agencies working on e-waste management in India, and the rest are informal.
When contacted, Itanagar Municipal Council (IMC) EAC H Basar informed that the component of e-waste has not been given to the IMC and it is currently responsibly for household and other waste only.
This daily could not get a statement from the IT department on the matter.
[ Nellie N Manpoong ]