India generates 1.70 million tonnes e-waste a year: Environment minister

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By Vibha Sharma

New Delhi : Although the Narendra Modi government’s pitch for ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan’, ‘Make in India’ campaign, ‘Smart Cities Project’, ‘Digital India Campaign’ and the ‘Zero Effect Zero Defect’ policy (leaving zero effect on the environment), glaring gaps in management of environmentally hazardous E-waste have yet to be addressed.

India generates an estimated 1.70 million TPA (tonnes per annum) of e-waste —  comprising mobiles, laptops and other electronic items — but recycles only about 4,62,896 TPA, Union Environment Minister Harshavardhan said on Sunday, voicing his “dissatisfaction” that only five states — Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Madhya Pradesh — have inventoried their e-waste so far.

Addressing a conference of the Central Pollution Control Board, he asked the remaining States to complete the process soon. Preparing an inventory is the first step towards addressing the problem.

Referring to the central government’s flagship schemes such as ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan’, ‘Make in India campaign’, ‘Smart Cities Project and Digital India Campaign’, Harsh Vardhan said ‘Make in India’ would adopt a “Zero Effect Zero Defect” policy.

There, however, continue to be huge gaps in the disposal of Solid Waste Management, he said, adding that 50% of the waste collected is dumped unscientifically. Moreover, while 2, 59, 000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day, only 14 States/Union Territories have banned plastic carry-bags.

An equally big challenge is e-waste management.  While “estimated quantity of e-waste generated is about 1.70 million TPA, the quantity that is recycled is about 462896 TPA,” he said.

E-waste poses a great threat to not only environment but also human health. A report by Parliament shows that 10 States contribute 70 per cent and 65 cities more than 60 per cent of the total e-waste generated in the country

Among the 10 largest e-waste generators are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, in that order.

And among top 10 cities generating e-waste, Mumbai ranks first followed by Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur, says the report.

Government, public and private (industrial) sectors account for almost 70 per cent of total e-waste generation. The contribution of individual households is smaller — about 15 per cent — while manufacturers contribute the remaining.

Source: The Tribune

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