How effective is CPCB in its management of e-waste?

Synopsis: In this article, we will discuss the e-waste generation in India, roles and responsibility of CPCB and actions needed by CPCB to manage it.  


Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest-growing stream of waste globally. As per the recent report of the United Nations, the world produced around 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste in 2019, out of which only 17.4% was recycled. UN termed this phenomenon a ‘tsunami of e-waste’. 

What is the scale of e-waste generation in India?

As per global e-waste monitor report, India generated 3,230 kilotonnes (KT) of e-waste, out of which only 30 KT of e-waste was formally collected in 2019. 

India generated around 2.4 kilograms of e-waste per capita; only 1 per cent of e-waste was formally collected. The informal sector of waste collection dominates over the formal sector. 

Though India’s per-capita generation is among the lowest in the world, the country is the third-largest generator of e-waste in the world. 

Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh are the states with the highest number of authorized recyclers / dismantlers. Other states should also work in this direction.  

Who is responsible for managing e-waste in India? 

The responsibility of managing e-waste in India lies with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB). 

In Shailesh Singh v. State of UP, NGT summoned the CPCB and SPCB due to unscientific disposal of e-waste. The NGT asked the authorities to submit a report on the actions taken to manage the e-waste in and around the capital. 

What are shortcomings in e-waste management in India? 

First, producers of the notified 21 categories of electronic equipment are not able to collect e-waste as per the specified target 

Second, only a few producers have been granted Extended Producer Responsibility Authorization (EPRA) from CPCB.  

Third, many unauthorized dismantling and recycling units are still in function 

Fourth, efficient monitoring of the authorized dismantlers / recyclers is required due to the leakage from authorized to unauthorized dismantlers and recyclers 

Fifth, ensure allocation of industrial space or shed for e-waste dismantling and recycling in the existing and upcoming industrial parks and clusters 

Sixth, the data collected by CPCB is do not include imported e-waste figures. It leads to actual figures for e-waste generation far higher than the current estimates. 

Seventh, state-wise data is not produced due to a lack of reported data by SPCBs. 

What are the recommendations to tackle the menace of e-waste? 

First, strict enforcement of the existing domestic rules and regulations 

Second, integrate formal and informal sector to reduce costs at the pre-processing stage and efficient recycling. 

Third, data inventory for data analysis and interpretation to know an estimate of e-waste produced annually.  

Fourth, publishing data in the public domain will create transparency with respect to generation, flow channels and methods of handling and disposal of e-waste 

Source: This post is based on the article ” How effective is CPCB in its management of e-waste? ” published in the Down to Earth on 20th September 2021. 

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