It can be toxic and hazardous to health. Yet, only a fraction of India’s e-waste is recycled, making the country its fifth largest generator in the world. Better awareness and proper implementation of e-waste norms alone can address the issue, experts maintain. A series of studies led by Assocham reveal some disturbing facts.

An estimated 1.8 million tonnes of e-waste is generated in the country, and is likely to grow to 5.2 million tonnes by 2020 at the predicted annual compounded growth of 30 percent, says one of its reports with cKinetics, a consultancy on sustainable business based here and in Palo Alto.

“But the sad part is a mere 2.5 percent of India’s total e-waste gets recycled,” said another of the chamber’s study, in collaboration with Frost and Sullivan, attributing it mainly to poor laws and lack of adequate infrastructure.

“There are two reasons for the e-waste problem — people are not aware about e-waste, and they do not have solutions to this issue,” said Deepak Sethi, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Delhi-based recycling company, Pompom.

“Worse, the waste that is segregated by the informal sector is either dumped or burnt, which is not the right thing to do,” Sethi told reporters. “It is dumped in dustbins or sold, which is wrong. We should make sure e-waste goes to the right channels — this is what needs to change.”

India does have what is called E-Waste Management and Handling Rules since May 2012, which has laid the onus of recycling on companies along with an extended producer responsibility to ensure their efficient and appropriate collection. But the role of consumers is unclear.

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