At a meeting organised by the Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology (MAIT) and GTZ, the German technical cooperation agency, on environmentally sound management of electronic management in New Delhi on Tuesday, Dr Saroj, director in the ministry of environment and & forests, said, ''The government is currently in the process of developing a dedicated set of Rules which would govern the management and handling of electronic waste.
''These will be put in the public domain for comments by March 2010.''
The draft rules were jointly proposed and submitted to the government by MAIT, GTZ, Greenpeace and Toxics Link in September 2009. An expert committee constituted by the ministry of environment and forests is currently reviewing the draft,'' Saroj said.
E-waste, or electrical and electronics equipment that has to be discarded, is characterised by two somewhat conflicting attributes: it is hazardous to process due to its content of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), etc; but it is also valuable due to the content of precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium, and copper.
E-waste recycling by the informal sector with little or no access to capital and technology, using highly hazardous and polluting techniques, is commonplace in some of the densely populated regions of India. The country currently does not have a dedicated legislation for environmentally sound management of e-waste.
A Raja, union minister for communications and information technology, told the gathering, ''A new set of rules for environmentally sound management of e-waste is the need of the hour. E-waste is one of the world's fastest growing waste streams and with increased consumption of IT and electronics products, India will soon be faced with the challenges of managing this.''