Draft E-waste Rule is Progressive and Inclusive: Greenpeace

It does not marginalize informal recyclers

Press release - May 25, 2010
NEW DELHI, India — Greenpeace today called for a swift adoption of the Draft E-Waste (Management & Handling) Rule, 2010 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and said that it was by far the most progressive and fundamentally robust framework created by a range of stakeholders to tackle the menace of e-waste.

"This draft ensures that the vulnerable from unorganized sector are not left in the fringe and offers a clear procedure on regulating import of e-waste for reuse purposes", said Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace India Toxics Campaigner. The rule also takes into account the mainstreaming of the informal sector in the overall electronic waste management system.

"He said it is clear that the informal sector cannot come out of the vicious negative cycle all by itself and has to be supported and educated about the health implications of their work conditions.

"The social and economic conditions that create a race to the bottom have to be eliminated and the registration of informal recyclers in the legal system through this rule in fact facilitates and accelerates their mainstreaming. Society is accountable for their action and operations, which often results in negative environmental externalities, and a threat to their own and public health", Abhishek Pratap said.

Explaining Article 13 (1) of the draft law, Abhishek Pratap said there are no restrictive clauses on the scale of operations of the dismantler and recycler in the rule.

When made into law, this will ensure that "nobody is left out". It is mischievous to suggest that the rule intends to eliminate the informal sector and favours only large corporate recycling.

Greenpeace has been campaigning on the issue of toxics and e-waste for five years now and takes full cognizance of the role of the informal sector as an important value-add in E-Waste recycling and management.  

"Our field studies have led us to believe that the health impacts on the workforce from a constant exposure to toxins as a result of rudimentary and polluting recycling practices can only be eliminated through progressive legislation", the campaigner said.

Creating a framework for the effective management of E-Wastes would mandate factoring in the "protection of health and livelihoods" of workers from the informal sector. The rule is a significant step in that direction, Abhishek Pratap asserted.

Article 6 of the draft Rule recognizes refurbishment as a value addition towards increasing the life cycle of an e-product. The draft rule is aimed at strengthening the legal system to control the shadowy and flourishing business of reselling that happens in the garb of recycling.

Greenpeace remains concerned that the current provision in Hazardous waste (management, handling and trans-boundary movement) Rule, 2009 remains inadequate to tackle the e-waste imports which come under metal scrap. Greenpeace therefore calls for a complete ban on import and export of all kind of E-Waste, whether as metal scrap or reused equipment for any purpose. Greenpeace had recommended this to the government in a joint recommendation by the Industry and Civil Society on E-waste Rule (4) in June, 2009.

Greenpeace has identified some legal ambiguities in the rule and calls on all progressive stakeholders to join in the consultations to eliminate them. "We will also closely work with MoEF on this issue and make this law a reality" said Divya Raghunandan, Campaign Director, Greenpeace India. 

For further information, contact

Dr. Seema Javed, Senior Media Officer, New Delhi, Greenpeace India
Ph: +91 991005 9765

Derek J. Wheeler, Senior Media Officer, Bangalore, Greenpeace India
Ph: +91 98 8634 8476

Notes to Editor

1. Article 13 of the rule says every recycler or dismantler can seek registration with application to CPCB to carry out their operation.
2. Article 16 of the rule says any recycler, producer, dismantler, refurbisher, collection center, consumer or bulk consumer shall not import used electronic and electrical equipment for use.
3. Article 4 of the rule clearly fixes responsibility for environmental impact of the products at the waste stream on electronic manufacturers.
4. Greenpeace along with Toxicslink, MAIT and GTZ worked for two years and did a wide range of consultations to draft a set of recommendation on e-waste law and submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forest in June last year. The present draft e-waste rule is largely based on this recommendation. The copy of recommendation can be shared on request.