India is 5th largest e-waste producer: ASSOCHAM-KPMG study

NEW DELHI: India has surely emerged as the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers, but also the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 per cent of the e-waste, according to an ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study.

With more than 100 crore mobile phones in circulation, nearly 25 per cent end up in e-waste annually, said the study. It is suggested that e-waste collection targets are implemented in a phased manner with lower and practically achievable target limits. The detailed implementation of procedures for collection of e-waste from the market needs to be followed.

The phased manner for implementation of e-waste collection targets needs to be introduced. The steps should be taken to rationalize the various audits being conducted by various authorities, to ensure that same areas are not audited on a repeated basis. The guidelines should be issued by DoT with respect to locations of tower and clearance requirements should be adopted across states to smoothen tower set up process.

While releasing the study, P Balaji, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National council on Telecommunications & Director-Regulatory, External Affairs & CSR, Vodafone India said, the telecommunication Industry is committed to realize the Government Vision of Digital India. In the last 15 months alone operators have invested over 30% of the cumulative investment made in 20 years prior. Over 100 million handsets have been manufactured last year.

A quick resolution on issues that will facilitate ease of doing business will accelerate achieving the Digital India Vision. ”We are confident that the Government which has set a fast pace of policy formulation and execution will support this endeavor,” added Balaji.

The unorganized sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 per cent of the e-waste produced in the country. Given the huge user base and vast reach of telecom in India, it is practically difficult and expensive for the handset manufacturers to achieve the targets prescribed in the rules from first year.

It is suggested that e-waste collection targets are implemented in a phased manner with lower and practically achievable target limits. Also, the detailed implementation of procedures for collection of e-waste from the market needs to be followed.

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