INDIA STARES AT PILE OF SOLAR E-WASTE
13, Apr 2019
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : GS-III (Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)
Why in News:
- India will likely to have a new category of electronic waste, namely solar e-waste by 2050, India’s e- waste rules have no laws mandating solar cell manufacturers to recycle or dispose waste from this sector.
- India is among the leading markets for solar cells in the world, followed by the government’s commitment to install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
- India has installed solar cells for about 28 GW and this is largely from imported solar PV cells. Solar cell modules are made by processing sand to make silicon, casting silicon ingots, using wafers to create cells and then assembling them to make modules.
- India’s domestic manufacturers are largely involved in assembling cells and modules. These modules have 80% glass and aluminium, and non-hazardous.
- Other materials used, including polymers, metals, metallic compounds and alloys, and are classified as potentially hazardous.
No laws mandating disposal
- India is poorly positioned to handle PV waste as it doesn’t have policy guidelines to handle solar waste. There is a lack of a policy framework
- basic recycling facilities for laminated glass and e-waste are unavailable.
- Despite the e-waste regulation being in place for over seven years, only less than 4% of estimated e-waste is recycled in the organised sector as per the latest estimates from the Central Pollution Control Board,
What comprises e-waste?
- E-waste – includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, cathode ray tubes (CRTs), printed circuit board (PCB), mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, accumulators, mercury switches, polychlorinated biphenyl capacitors etc. Toxic elements associated with e waste usually are – Cadmium, Mercury, Lead, nickel, Chromium, Copper, Lithium, Silver and Manganese
E-waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018
- The amendment in rules has been done with the objective of channelizing the E-waste generated in the country towards authorized dismantlers and recyclers in order to formalize the e-waste recycling sector.
- The collection targets under the provision of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the Rules have been revised and targets have been introduced for new producers who have started their sales operations recently.
- Basel Convention on the Control of the Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Waste, 1992 entered into force
- Originally the Basel Convention did not mention e-waste but later it addressed the issues of e-waste in 2006 (COP8). The convention seeks to ensure environmentally sound management; prevention of illegal traffic to developing countries and; building capacity to better manage e-waste.
- Nairobi Declaration was adopted at COP9 of the Basel Convention. It aimed at creating innovative solutions for the environmentally sound management of electronic wastes.