E-waste is a critical waste issue not only because of the escalating volumes but also due to presence of several toxic and allergenic metals for example lead, cadmium, beryllium, brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polychlorinated biphenyls. The concerns in India are heightened due to rudimentary and environmentally unsafe recycling practices in the informal sector which leads to massive pollution and toxic releases. Workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations are exposed to various kinds of hazards. To address some of these issues, E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, were notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2011, which came into effect from May 1, 2012.
Post rules, there has been some change in the recycling market. Currently, there are more than 100 collection/dismantling/recycling units in the country, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. Though it is encouraging to see significant growth in the number of formal e-waste recyclers in the country, it is important to understand whether the occupational safety concerns of the informal operations have been mitigated in these new setups. Studies in formal recycling plants in other parts of the world have indicated that there are risks to these workers if safety norms are not followed effectively.
In the above context, Toxics Link in collaboration with Cividep organized a roundtable meeting on 'Creating Safe Workplaces: E-waste Recycling Industry'. It provided a platform to all participants for a healthy discussion, knowledge sharing so as to find a way forward in trying to implement environmental safeguards but still maintain occupational safety in the recycling business.
For downloading the presentations, click link below:
OH&S E-Waste Recycling Industry - C.S.T.Sai
Measures to improve OH&S - H.G.Sadhu