3.84 million tonnes of electronic waste in the country. Who is responsible? There has been extensive debate in the past on who is responsible for electronic waste generation and management. In 2016, the government of India established the E-waste Management Rules, which was further revised in 2018. According to this law, the government specified that producers (manufactures, distributors and importers) of electronic items are responsible for electronic waste. Since, they are introducing the products into the market, they should be responsible for disposal once it becomes a ‘waste’. It was further spelled out that these producers have to recycle a certain percentage of their total sales every year. The recycling can only be done by an authorized recycler or dismantler without causing any damage to the environment.
On the flip side, even though consumers are not legally obligated to recycle their waste, they are equally responsible towards the environment as a whole. With the increase in dependency of technology, especially after the pandemic, and the rising purchasing power of consumers, India is witnessing a spike in electronic consumption and subsequent electronic waste generation. Almost 95% of the waste generated is treated and handled by the informal sector, finding its way to landfills and waterbodies. This is major contributor to pollution resulting in prolonged summers, unseasonal rains and harsh winters.
Instead of ‘kicking the ball’ of responsibility to each other, it is time producers and consumers join hands towards their common goal of making the world a greener place.