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India fifth largest producer of e-waste (analysed from The Hindu, relevant for GS III, Topic: Environment, e-Waste)

India has surely emerged as the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers, but also the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year, with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 per cent of the e-waste.

Matter of concern:

The rising levels of e-waste generation in India have been a matter of concern in recent years. With more than 100 crore mobile phones in circulation, nearly 25 per cent end up in e-waste annually, it said.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified e-waste management rules, 2016, in which producers are covered under extended producers’ responsibility (EPR).

Extended Producer Responsibility:

Extended producer's responsibility (EPR) is main feature of the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016, wherein the producer of electrical and electronic equipment was given the responsibility of managing such equipment after its 'end of life', thus the producer is responsible for their products once the consumer discards them. 

Waste collection target (e-waste management rules):

The rules prescribe a waste collection target of 30 per cent waste generated under EPR for the first two years, progressively going up to 70 per cent in the seventh year of the rule.

The rules prescribe stringent financial penalties for non-compliance. 

Issues:

Given the huge user base and vast reach of telecom in India, it is practically difficult and expensive for the handset manufacturers to achieve the targets prescribed in the rules from first year.

Phased manner:

It is suggested that electronic waste collection targets are implemented in a phased manner with lower and practically achievable target limits. Also, detailed implementation procedures for collection of electronic waste from the market need to be followed.



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