The UT Administration, which is vying for the smart city tag, has no exact data on how much e-waste is generated in the city. The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in the Parliament highlighted that the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee had failed to provide exact data on the e-waste generated in the city to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
The report stated that in March 2015, CPCB just had estimates of the e-waste generated in Chandigarh and seven other states. As per the laid down norms of e-waste (management and handling) rules, SPCBs/PCCs of states/UTs are required to maintain an inventory of e-waste, implement programmes to encourage environmentally sound recycling of e-waste, take action against violation of rules and perform any other duty delegated by the MoEF.
States and UTs are also required to prepare an annual report in the prescribed format regarding the implementation of the rules and submit the same to CPCB by September 30 every year. The administration had launched an e-waste project in 2012 for scientific collection and disposal of e-waste. Under the project, e-bins were placed at around 10 places in the city, such as the UT Secretariat in Sector 9 and the UT deputy commissioner’s office in Sector 17, for collection of e-waste.
Director (Environment) Santosh Kumar said that they did not know how much e-waste was generated in the city as no survey had been carried out to find the same.
“Due to lack of awareness, people put other waste like paper in e-bins,” rued Kumar. He further said that they would conduct a survey to ascertain the quantity of e-waste generated in city.
A large number of information technology companies operate from the city. The Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park set up by the administration currently houses more than 100 companies, including IT giant Infosys which has around 25,000 employees. Besides, there are around 150 other companies operating in other parts of the city.
What is e-waste?
E-waste is discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronic devices which are meant for reuse, resale, salvage or recycling are also considered e-waste. E-waste contains various materials such as plastic, iron, aluminium, copper, silver, gold and platinum, etc. It also contains heavy metals like lead, chromium, mercury, cadmium, etc and other toxic substances that may cause health risks and damage to environment. The director (environment) has identified a total of 55 items as e-waste, such as computer parts, adapters, power cables, mobile phones, microwaves, etc.