Waste management is an essential component in combating pollution. The two things are not mutually exclusive; in fact, improving waste management actually reduces environmental impact by reducing the overall consumption of natural resources used to produce packaging and manufacturing waste. It’s time to examine our own practices and learn from other countries that provide alternative models for reducing garbage and as a result, pollution in this country and the world’s largest dumpsite, where nobody lives. What many people don’t know is that technology is actually one of the main contributors to this problem.
The way many of us consume technology has a direct impact on pollution. We use the term ‘e-waste‘ to highlight the environmental problems caused by electronic waste while simultaneously recognizing the good it can do if we ensure it is properly disposed of. The term ‘e-waste’ describes items that are destined for the trash because they are broken, not functioning, or considered outdated and require disposal.
The informal waste recycling and disposal industry is growing and reaching its peak. Eventually, rules and regulations were implemented to improve this grieve situation. The ministry which is primarily responsible for regulations regarding the handling of electronic waste is the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC ). The production of important implementation procedures is done by the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Board. The e-waste handling and management rules came into action in May 2012. The manufacturers and importers of electronic waste were to come up with a plan to manage their e-waste according to the clearly stated rules. Responsibilities were given to each party involved in the disposal, production, and management of electronic waste through the rules that were established. The producer, the collection center, bulk consumer or consumer, recyclers, and dismantlers were given specific responsibilities. Clear rules were provided to the sellers of electronic goods which mandated them to provide information in the user manuals about the safe and timely disposal of these electronic items. Further, the rules also stated that the manufacturers of the kind of electronics that can be electronic waste eventually need to provide the details of the hazardous materials present in the product they have created.
The e-waste management rules updated in 2016 replaced the ones that were implemented earlier. The informal sector of e-waste management manages the e-waste by recycling or finally disposing of it. The dismantling and recycling of these e-waste parts from electronic items have created a market in India for these types of goods. There are existing recycling and disposing techniques that do not follow any health or environmental standards. These methods are burning the cables, acid baths, and disposing of the waste directly in nature that proves to be detrimental for the health of the people participating in these kinds of practices. Currently, e-waste management in India is handled by informal dismantlers due to the lack of proper implementation of the rules and regulations in the country. This practice is harmful not only for the people participating in it but also for the people in its vicinity.