E-waste: Industry, NGOs and researchers agree on need for action, will government pay heed?

Feature story - August 24, 2007
NEW DELHI, India — Though they might have deferred on the strategies and methods, all participants at Greenpeace’s seminar on Extended Producer Responsibility in an Indian Context were agreed that quick and effective measures were need to check the e-waste crisis. Industry leaders such as HP, Wipro and HCL, together with industry associations MAIT and ELCINA and recycling companies agreed on the need for legislation to both phase out toxic components in electronics and also on the need to a legislation that made producers responsible for their products during the entire lifecycle.

‘There should not be a paralysis through analysis’ was the warning from Professor Thomas Lindhqvist of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, one of the authors of the report Extended Producer Responsibility in a non-OECD context. 

Ravi Agarwal of Toxics Link squarely challenged the industry to go public and push the government for the required legislation and regulatory mechanisms.

While the Central Pollution Control Board’s guidelines were welcomed by all as a first step, there was also a strong feeling that the guidelines were far from enough as they talked only of the management of e-waste and not prevention at source, that is, by designing cleaner products.

With all present agreeing on the need to push for legislation on the issue, the next step is a formal and public representation to the government from all involved, particularly the companies that profit from the electronics sector. Greenpeace will continue to push the industry and specific players in particular to become greener and more transparent in their operational policies. Watch this space for more!