Greenpeace Demands Law to Govern E-waste in India

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 22 2007 6:09 PM

Greenpeace activists took out a protest on Monday demanding a law to govern e-waste management in the country.

Activists wearing black shirts with "Design out toxics" printed across in bright yellow stood outside the office of Information Technology Ministry in New Delhi with a life-size replica of the globe in the clutches of a hand made of hazardous e-waste, in a bid to remind the country of harmful effects of e-waste on the environment.

The activists demanded implementation of a new regulatory legislation and presented a report to the Ministry on the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPF), which holds producers responsible for their products.

"E-waste is highly toxic and it is necessary that the government take measures to reduce the toxins present in e-waste as well as implement Extended Producer Responsibility principle that puts the responsibility on producers for their products right from the start of its lifecycle to the very end of its lifecycle including safety cycle," said Ashish Fernandes, a Greenpeace activist.

"We are asking the IT Ministry to take the lead, implement a...legislation that phases out hazardous substances and also ask the government for legislation based on EPR principle to put the responsibility on producers for their products," Fernandes added.

India's booming economy is producing mountains of toxic electronic waste like discarded computers and televisions, but there is no law to regulate its disposal, say environmentalists.

E-waste, which generates hundreds of hazardous substances like lead, cadmium, mercury and others, is one of the most rapidly growing environmental problems of the world.

While the country's economy has been growing at eight percent annually over the last three years, it has also resulted in the generation of 150,000 tonnes of electronic waste each year according to an environmental group.

In India e-waste management assumes greater significance not only due to generation of waste but also dumping by the developed countries.