KOLKATA, 4 JUNE: The city which produces 8,000 metric tons of e-waste each year, ranks third in the country when it comes to e-waste generation, thanks to the lack of re-cycling and treatment units.
Mr Biswajit Mukherjee, senior law officer of West bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), said: “There are no laws to check e-waste in the city. A draft E-Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2010 has been proposed by the Union ministry of environment and forest and it will have to formulate a way to collect, store and dispose e-waste. The Union government is planning to set up collection centres in various parts of the state.”
However, Prof. Sadhan Ghosh, director, Centre for Quality Management System of Jadavpur University, said that there are many loopholes in the draft which was made public in April. “Considering the economy of our country, the draft should have considered 10 years instead of five for renewal of authorisation certificate from the concerned PCBs. The penalty for defaulters is also not clearly stated in the draft. Also, electronic goods producers should be levied cess that would motivate them to obey the rule,” he said.
A study, E-Waste: Flooding the City of Joy, conducted in 2007 by Prof. Ghosh in association with Toxics Link, New Delhi, states that some of the unorganised units in the city recycle this waste by burning them openly, thereby exposing themselves to dangerous toxic and carcinogenic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium.
Some of the major hotspots for e-waste in the city are Chandni Chowk, Princep Street, Kankurgachi, Kadapara, Rajabazaar, Howrah, Topsia and Grey Street where various forms of electronic items such as washing machines, television, DVD players are dismantled and recycled.
Most of the big companies, public and private, are disposing of their waste through official tenders in newspapers. Some have in recent years embraced the exchange policy wherein they return the old computers and get some discount on the new purchase. And in some cases, where the e-waste generation is small, the companies just sell it to the local scrap dealers. Recently, Union minister for environment, Mr Jairam Ramesh, had said in Parliament that the ports in the country are ill-equipped in checking e-waste import.
Study of fish in the offing!
KOLKATA, 4 JUNE: Mr Biswajit Mukherjee, senior law officer of West Bengal Pollution Control Board, said in Writers’ Building yesterday that rising level of mercury in fish in the state is a great threat and the board is planning to conduct a study to access the extent of contamination in fish sold in local markets in the city. The study will be initiated soon.