Tamil Nadu frames separate e-waste policy

Partnership among stakeholders vital for the success of the process

Government will undertake a massive awareness programme

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has become the first State in the country to come up with a separate e-waste policy in the country. While welcoming the move, and the policy on collection by community-based organisations (CBO), activists and organisations are awaiting specific details.

“We have taken the utmost efforts even while drafting to be as close to the national e-waste policy as possible,” Santhosh Babu, managing director, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (ELCOT), says. The ELCOT was one of the key organisations that worked on preparing the policy for the State. The 11-12 members who were on the Board were drawn from several allied sectors were given the mandate to keep in tune with the national guidelines.

While at this point of time, the e-waste policy remains a mere document, it will be followed in the next six months with a series of government orders and a set of rules that will ensure the implementation of all the features mentioned in the policy.

Ram Ramachandran, president, All India e-waste Recyclers Association, said it was a “great start.”

But he pointed out that it would be necessary to take up collection and segregation in a careful manner. “Sometimes the value of the recovered after recycling may not be able to cover even the transportation costs,” he said. He called for a partnership among all stakeholders to make the process successful.

Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace Toxics campaigner, said, bringing local bodies and community organisations into the collection of e-waste was welcome. He said it was important to incorporate very specific targets and for co-ordination between various bodies.

“Building an end-to-end recycling facility is a very costly proposition. So it will be better to have a few central facilities and to have different States co-operate in the process,” he said.

Dr. Santhosh Babu said that once the rules were in place, key stakeholders, who have been identified already, including manufacturers, pollution control boards, local bodies, and ELCOT, would be apprised of their roles.

Specific questions as to how extended producer responsibility would be answered and the structure of the collection and disposal chain would be ensured.

The government would also take up a massive awareness programme to tell consumers of the huge quantities of e-waste they are accumulating, and suggesting responsible means of getting rid of them.

“It is the next biggest threat, the way we see it. We are slowly, subtly, sometimes unknowingly polluting our environment with electronic goods. Citizen awareness is the first step in trying to address this problem,” Dr. Santhosh Babu added.

By Shyam Ranganathan and Ramya Kannan – From THE HINDU

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