India, which is has emerged as world’s second largest mobile market, is also the fifth largest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 1.85 million metric tonnes of electronic waste each year, a study says.
Telecom equipment alone accounted for 12 percent of the e-waste, a joint study by Assocham-KPMG said.
The rising levels of e-waste generation in India has been a matter of extreme concern in recent years. With more than 1 billion mobile phones in circulation, nearly 25 percent end up in e-waste annually, it said.
“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 1.85 million metric tonnes of electronic waste each year with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 percent of the e-waste,” the study said.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified e-waste management rules, 2016 in which producers are for the first time covered under extended producers’ responsibility (EPR).
The rules prescribe a waste collection target of 30 percent waste generated under EPR for the first two years, progressively going up to 70 percent in the seventh year of the rule. The rules prescribe stringent financial penalties for non-compliance.
However, the study said that the unorganised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 percent of the e-waste produced in the country.
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, the study said.
“It is suggested that e-waste collection targets are implemented in a phased manner with lower and practically achievable target limits. Also, detailed implementation procedures for collection of e-waste from the market needs to be followed,” it added.