The tremendous growth and technological advancements in the electronic data management and communications have spurred economic growth and improved living standards. However, the dependence on electronic products has given rise to a new area of concern i.e. electronic waste. The high rates of obsolescence of products in use in the domestic sector such as TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and mobile phones as well as computers give rise to substantial E-waste generation and this is going up steadily, given the high growth rates in these segments.
As per a report by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), India generated 1,46,800 tonnes of E-waste was generated in the year 2005 and the number is expected to reach 8,00,000 tonnes by 2012. Also, 65 cities generated more than 60% of the total E-waste generated in India. What’s alarming is that 10 states generate 70% of the total e-waste generated in India.
Top E-waste generating cities in India are Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur. And top E-waste generating states in India are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, MP and Punjab.
A 2010 report by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) forecasted that by 2020, E-waste in India from old computers will jump by 500 percent from 2007 and discarded mobile phones, televisions will add to the numbers.
The draft notification of E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules was published by MoEF in May 2010. The concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)is introduced in these proposed rules as this strategy makes the producer (of electronic/electric equipment) responsible for the entire life cycle of the product, including its recycling and final disposal.