Odisha lags in proper disposal of e-waste

Bhubaneswar, Aug 5 (IANS) Even as Odisha produces about 7,000-8,000 tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) annually, the producers are yet to apply proper methods to dismantle and recycle this, officials say.

As a result, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has issued notice to 43 producers including Intex, LG, Samsung, Acer, Vodafone, Sharp India, Carrier Media, Sukam Power, HP, Hitachi, Blue Star, Micromax and Xolo to get their act together.

It has asked the organisations what steps they have taken for setting up of collection centres in Odisha for collection of end-of-life equipment.

According to the provisions of the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, the producers have to collect e-waste generated from the end-of-life equipment in line with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and to ensure it is channelised to registered dismantler or recycler.

“Around 13 producers have responded to the notice of the pollution control board while we are expecting others to respond. They have to ensure recycling of the products. Otherwise it would affect the environment,” senior Scientist of OSPCB D.K. Behera told IANS.

He said while the pollution watchdog has authorised 13 e-waste collection centres in the state, there are no registered functional recyclers.

While 10 collection centres are in Bhubaneswar, one each is in Cuttack, Sambalpur and Berhampur. Besides, there are three recycling companies that have set up their units outside the state, he added.

However, the state has no authorised recycling unit except a dismantling unit-cum collection centre set up by Sani Clean Pvt ltd in Khurdha, said Behera.

The OSPCB has also asked 851 institutions, including banks (31), engineering colleges (102), hospitals (127), hotels (75), industries (470) software companies (15), telecom (8) and universities (10) for details about the manner of their e-waste disposal in the state.

Environmentalists have raised concern over the dumping of e-waste into rivers and drains that may contaminate the soil and water with heavy metals and other impurities.

“It is the responsibility of the electronic equipment producers to collect the e-waste from people or the users. They should set up regional recycling units in the state itself and the government should strictly implement the guidelines notified by the centre,” Ranjan Panda, convener of NGO Water Initiative Odisha, told IANS.

Even the drinking water at the locations, where the e-wastes are dumped, contains a high amount of toxic metals, he stated.

Prithviraj Sahu, a software expert, said the extended producer’s responsibility (EPR) specified in the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, needs strict enforcement.

Stressing on making EPR mandatory, he said EPR is an environment protection strategy that makes the producer responsible for the entire lifecycle of the product, especially for taking back, recycling and finally disposing off the product.

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